By Erin K. Costello
It appears as though my last blog post has struck a nerve with a few figures in the anti-vaccination community. I find it to be a bit strange that they chose this post of mine to focus on since neither of these people are the subject of the post, and are only briefly mentioned. Then again, maybe that was the problem?
Both Larry Cook from Stop Mandatory Vaccination (StopMV), and Kate Tietje from Modern Alternative Mama , made Facebook posts and comments regarding some things I said in my last blog post, where I shared my personal experiences with the behaviors of anti-vaccinationists. I'd like to address some of the things they accused me of having said in my blog post, the accusations they have made about our Facebook page, What's The Harm?, and our admin team. Since Larry wrote only one Facebook post, that I am aware of anyways, I will begin by addressing his first.
In Larry's Facebook group, Stop Mandatory Vaccination (StopMV), Larry uploaded the post featured here in the image just below. In this post he states that there are hostile pro-vaccinationists who,
"screenshot certain types of posts, share in other groups and pages, and get massive numbers of their rabid followers to call CPS, and the police on parents who ***APPEAR*** to be putting their child's life in jeopardy. TYPICALLY, they go after parents who are seeking help with a certain medical condition that their child is experiencing."
The problems with what he said are that he first leaves out important information, and then embellishes the rest. Regarding screen shots, yes, there are an untold amount of pro-vaccinationists who have sock accounts (fake accounts) for the purpose of gaining entry to anti-vaccination groups. Often times they will do this to find the most outrageous posts, comments, and beliefs of the anti-vaccination community for the purpose of taking a screen shot and sharing it to a pro-vaccination page or group. This is nothing new though however. Whether it's over vacciantions, racism, pseudoscience, religion, politicians, or conspiracy theories, there have always been people who lied their way into these groups, be that on Facebook or elsewhere, for the purposes of learning and exposing their tenets. What is different about our Facebook pages, our Facebook group, and many of the other pages and groups I am a part of, is that we don't share these images to mock, belittle, or harass any individuals. We only care about the ridiculous claims being shared, not who it is that shared them. We have strict rules on all the Facebook communities I help admin requiring all identifying information be redacted. If anything is visible we promptly delete the image and post, then warn the person who posted it. Almost all of the pages I follow and groups I have joined have these same strict rules. There are even some secret groups that insist on these rules. This is because most admin do not want to aide in the harassment of anyone on-line, regardless of views. This isn't because we fear being reported to Facebook. We fear being responsible for someone getting hurt. There are some groups who do not insist on redaction, though these groups exist for a different reason. They choose to interact with and confront anti-vaccinationists for the things they post, therefore they call them out and ask them to explain. Some people agree with this approach and some people do not. However, I am not about to jump into that debate at the moment.
Regarding the CPS and police claim Larry made, this is only partially true. First of all, to my knowledge no one has ever called the police over anything an anti-vaccinationist posted. Maybe this has happened in the past though not by anyone associated with our pages. He is correct that we have contacted CPS on occasion, though he is incorrect as to why we have done this. We have never contacted CPS solely because a parent posted in a Facebook groups asking for help concerning a health condition in a child. This claim is just asinine. We have all posted on Facebook asking people for opinions regarding health. I myself have done this, and I'm about to do it again shortly. We would never consider this a re-portable offense. What we have found to be re-portable offenses are instances where a parent has purposely exposed their kids or others to a contagious disease in an attempt to provide "natural immunity" (measles or chicken pox parties), when a parent posts they have a sick child with a serious infection such as pertussis, but they are refusing to give their child prescribed medicine such as antibiotics because they heard from other moms in the group that the medicine might cause gut issues, or when they post dangerous symptoms of a child's illness (high fever, inability to breathe, not waking up, dehydration), or pictures of infected injuries (burns, bites, deep cuts), while also stating they refuse to seek medical attention for their child. There have also been occasions when we have contacted CPS due to posts describing dangerous treatments being administered to a child such as turpentine, urine therapy, or MMS, which is feeding a child bleach either orally or anally, or forcing the child to bathe in bleach and water.
A post has to really "***APPEAR***" to be placing the child at risk of serious harm, illness, or death for us to contact social services. This isn't something we enjoy doing, nor do we want to do this. However, I imagine most humans would contact authorities if a parent was believed to be placing a child's life in jeopardy. Well, most humans who aren't Larry Cook anyways.
Now let's get to Kate. First she claims we "attack" people and try to get them fired from their jobs. This is only partially true, though we don't troll groups for this purpose, nor do we attack anyone. We also do not contact employers with the intent of having them fired. Our only intention when we contact an employer is to bring to light things they claim to have done while on the job. This is almost always something we only see in the medical community. If we happen to see a post from a nurse or other medical professional, we may or may not contact their employer. Before we do so, we always verify the person in question is the person they claim to be, and is a licensed medical professional. If the nurse (it's almost always a nurse) is simply stating she's against vaccinations, we don't care. Though, it is troubling that a nurse would be against vaccinations. That's like a fireman being against water because it causes people to drown. However, if we see a post from a nurse claiming to discuss vaccinations with her patients for the purpose of turning them against the shots, then we will contact their employer. If we see a nurse violate HIPAA law in a post, we will notify their employer. This is what happened with the nurse from Texas this week. No one cared that she posted how she was against vaccinations. People cared because she repeatedly violated HIPAA laws, and then admitted to feeling a temptation to swab a patient's mouth who was infected with measles for the purpose of bringing the infection home to give to her child.
I could make this post go on for a while if I were to tackle everything Kate has said. I am going to summarize most of her claims though and then provide a blanket response, along with screen shots as proof.
1: Kate says she hates sock accounts and people who use them are horrible.
***Let me introduce you to Frankie Gray in the photos below! She's Kate's sock account!
2: She says I played the victim in my blog post and whined about how unfair anti-vaccinationists are to me.
*** While Kate is posting as Frankie Gray she repeatedly states how ridiculous it was of Facebook to ban her for posting her thoughts on us, and others like us, and she feels as though she has been targeted. In other words, she's the victim and it's unfair. In fact here's a blog post she wrote today on her website where she blames Facebook, pro-vaccinationists, Ohio AAP and their CEO, and anyone else who dared to defy her, for her recent three-day Facebook ban. Also, here's a link to a blog post we wrote months ago regarding the Ohio bill that brought about her beef with the Ohio chapter AAP, specifically their CEO. Our post also contains screen shots of her posts from that time.
As for my whining and playing the victim? Here's a link to our archives page titled "Love Letters" where many of the messages and posts I covered yesterday are available for viewing. I do not consider myself a victim in any way over this. I was simply sharing my experience. I've also never accused Kate of victimizing me. Kate could never victimize me.
3: She accuses us of being bullies, attacking her, creating hate pages, harassing her, or coming at her for her choices.
***NO MAM is not a hate page. I don't hate Kate Tietje. I don't know her personally. She may be a wonderful person. It's her misinformation we take issue with. We will address her lies and dangerous claims each time she posts them. We will call out neglect when we see it. And since Kate chooses to be somewhat of a public figure, albeit it a small and misguided one, she chooses to put herself in the spotlight. While there she chooses to use her exposure to spread false claims and misinformation. She insists on pushing dangerous advice to the public, regardless of never being asked for much of it. Because of this, we feel it necessary to focus on her posts at times. We don't attack her, bully her, or harass her. We post public responses to the idiocy she tries to pass off as science. There are plenty of other subjects Kate has blogged, posted, and commented towards. Most of which never even registers on our radar. Only when the claims and advice she gives is dangerous or risks harming a child will we address the things she has stated. Again, THIS IS NOT ABOUT HER. It is about the irresponsibility of her harmful beliefs and advice.
4: She accused me of leaving a "tirade" on one of her posts in which she claims I called her stupid, uncaring towards about moms, and is only trying to scam people out of money.
***To your left you will find a screen shot of this alleged "tirade" I left. You'll see I did not call her anything, nor did I leave her a tirade. I passive aggressively suggested her 73K page likes may not be organic since her page is much more quieter than ours was at the time with under 5K likes. I then linked our website. As for caring about money? Ever notice how every blog post of hers has embedded links to items she sells? Her latest post links to her book for sale on Amazon every time the word "vaccination" appears. She also mentioned how she didn't read my whole comment. For someone who didn't read my comment, she sure claimed to know much of what was allegedly in my comment.
5: Lastly, throughout many of Kate's posts and comments you'll see a theme. She's always the one persecuted, it's always because no one likes her choices, and she is never in the wrong. She's always the bullied and never the bully. She's always the victimized and never the victimizing. She's always treated unfairly when someone shuts her down while she herself shuts down anyone who contradicts her. The problem is never Kate, but the rest of the world and internet. Everyone else is a hypocrite, but never Kate.
***Below you will find many screen shots of Kate bullying people, inciting group members to report several people whom she does not like or does not like the things they say, posts from Kate that expose people's profiles simply because she thought they were mean for disagreeing with her, ordering her members to not be friends with people she does not approve of, ordering members to report our profiles along with others, ordering members to report any and all posts that even mention her, calls myself and others horrible names, trying to get pages shut down, succeeding at getting a page and group shut down, and overall obsessing about anyone who criticizes Kate for her publicly made beliefs and claims. For any additional images Kate's highlights, please visit our archives page titled "MAM."
We did not cause her three day ban she received today. We didn't mass report, or even report, anything she has been banned for (this time). Kate earned this all on her own. We may not always say nice things about Kate, and especially about the information she posts, but we don't wish her or her family any harm. We don't discuss her kids except to highlight an action of Kate's. We don't allow anyone to post images of her family or to even use her kids' names. They are often referred to as just a one letter initial. Her children are adorable and sound like very well behaved and nice kids. I have no doubt this is largely due to Kate's parenting methods in several areas. As much as I disagree with her on some issues, I do happen to agree with her on several other issues. She does get many things right I believe. I also do not believe her to be a soulless creature with no life, even though she believes me to be one.
I'd like to wrap this up with an invitation. In one comment Kate accuses us of hiding behind anonymity while harassing her. I have provided most of all my screen shots that support our version of events and provide evidence of Kate's fallacies. I invite Kate to do the same if she has any proof. Surely if I, or we, have came at her, attacked her, or bullied her, then she would have proof of this. I invite her to expose us as these vile things she claims us to be. Let's see the screen shots. I'd also like to invite her to visit our page anytime she likes to discuss these matters. We can do this openly, or privately. This isn't some kind of "come at me bro" invitation or anything. I offer this opportunity with sincere and genuine intent. It's time these lies end.
What's The Harm?