Autistic Activists in Canada Take Action Against Anti-Vax Propaganda

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We are very proud of all the autistic activists in Canada who have taken action against the screenings of the film VAXXED 2!!

VAXXED 2 is a propaganda film that is earning millions for the antivax industry at the expense of autistic people. The film falsely links vaccines and autism and portrays autistic people as an epidemic and a burden.

Autistic advocates were the leaders of these pro-science actions. In some cases, advocates were able to get screenings stopped before the film showed; in others, we took to the streets to educate.

Actions

North Bay, ON: An A4A member in North Bay had the idea of calling the local Health Ministry office (MOH) to inform them of 3 screenings scheduled in the area. The MOH contacted the venues to inform them that due to the public health risks of the screening, the venues needed to cancel the screenings. All 3 screenings were canceled!!!

Toronto, ON: A direct action picket line was organized by some brave autistic activists in Toronto, when the film screened for two nights at a local theatre. Activists held signs with slogans such as “Vaccines Cause Adults” and “Autistic and Proud”. They handed out educational flyers to passers-by and had engaging conversations about public health and also about neurodiversity — all while trying to avoid the angry shouts of the attendees in line… and the pouring rain both nights. A true endurance test!

Halifax, NS: In Nova Scotia, Autistics United Chapter Leader Alex Kronstein spoke with media about the dangers of antivax rhetoric and its impact on autistic people. Advocates held a spirited protest at the screening of VAXXED 2, which took place at a local city-owned recreation centre that rented the space to VAXXED 2 for $345. One ally held a sign that read: “Halifax Rec: For $345 you lost my $516 gym membership. Get lost, anti-vaxxers. My best friend has autism and is perfect.” Thank you.

Moncton, NB: New Brunswick advocates contacted the New Brunswick Medical Society and the Mayor of Moncton, but neither office showed interest in the public health risks of screening antivax propaganda films during a resurgence of measles, mumps and rubella that is being caused by antivax propaganda, so the screenings went forward. Advocates showed up at the screenings and handed out educational flyers, holding signs, and talking with passers-by about the issues, receiving supportive high fives, honks and people shouting “Yes! We vaccinate!”

Victoria, BC: Advocates were able to get two scheduled screenings shut down after the venues were made aware that the so-called “education group” scheduled at their spaces was actually a screening of VAXXED 2.  At the two remaining venues, a group of protesters–plus a very sweet service dog–stood outside with their signs. One protester, whose parents did not vaccinate them as a child, held the sign: “Not vaccinated and still autistic.” The group received support from people throughout the neighbourhood.

“My Existence is Resistance”
Autistic activist Alex Kronstein of Nova Scotia, who held a sign that read “My Existence is Resistance” spoke to Global Media about the protests, summing up the reason why autistic people are at the forefront of protesting this film: “The whole idea that vaccines cause autism, it promotes a lot of stigma and hatred towards autistic people….If a publicly-owned rec facility is hosting a screening of this film, it’s harming public health and contributing to the stigma of autistic people.”

The vaccine that antivaxxers has been most focused on is the Measles Mumps Rubella vaccine (MMR), profiting from a baseless myth that the MMR vaccine causes autism. Experts estimate a sixfold increase in mumps diagnoses, with rising numbers of measles cases each day, including major outbreaks, and new cases of rubella now being reported.

The vaccine-autism myth was made stronger for more than a decade by the group Autism Speaks, which perpetuated the antivax myth through its literature and even its research projects until just 3 years ago when its messaging abruptly shifted. Autistic advocates have been at the forefront of resistance against antivax and public education about the importance of childhood vaccines.

Thank you
We are grateful to all the amazing autistic advocates across Canada who worked so hard on this. We did not allow the antivax industry to present their hate without being there to share the facts and say “No.” We were there to bear witness to the importance of vaccines, and to our own humanity.

Thanks also to our siblings in the UK at Autistic Inclusive Meets, who were the first to organize against VAXXED 2 screenings and inspired us in our own actions.

We will continue to update our social media about upcoming protests worldwide.

Read our fact sheet about VAXXED2 and antivax claims: VAXXED2 Fact Sheet

Donate to our Action Fund

Vancouver Protest on Feb 21st! Event Info