Jim Carrey has been forced to apologise after tweeting a picture of a child with autism and tuberous sclerosis without his family’s permission.
Carrey tweeted the picture of Karen Echols’ son Alex as part of a protest against recent legislation in California that removed the personal-belief exemption from public health vaccination programmes.
Carrey’s tweet was posted on Instagram by Echols’ aunt Elizabeth Welch. Carrey wrote: “A trillion dollars buys a lot of expert opinions. Will it buy you? TOXIN FREE VACCINES, A REASONABLE REQUEST!” accompanied by a picture of Echols. Welch accused Carrey of using the post to “mock” him and and his family, and that vaccinations played no part in his condition.
Karen Echols followed up with a direct appeal to Carrey asking him to remove the picture. The tweet was deleted and Carrey apologised in a subsequent message.
The supposed link between autism and the MMR vaccine was comprehensively disproved after a major study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The researcher who put forward the original suggestion in 1998, Andrew Wakefield, was struck off the the GMC medical register in 2010 for “serious professional misconduct”.
- This article was amended on 7 July to change use of language related to autism.