Wednesday
Jan282015

Tenpenny tour finished before it began.

Anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny has just announced that her tour in Australia is cancelled.

It's interesting the Tenpenny should cite threats of violence as a reason for the cancellation. Especially as all the death threats and abuse during this campaign have come from her own supporters.

See: Venue cancels after anti-vaxxers threaten to bomb it.

There are other examples of Tenpenny supporters acting in this way which can't be disclosed for legal reasons. However Tenpenny will conveniently omit the fact that the only known threats have come from her own supporters.

I suspect the real reason for her cancellation is that no venue will have her. The false victim card is a favorite amongst anti-vaxxers, rather than just admitting that no one wants them. So until Tenpenny can provide anything to substantiate her claims to have been threatened it remains just as dubious as anything else she says.

Hopefully this cancellation will put anti-vaxxers on notice that they are not welcome in Australia and we will continue to stop them. Go spread your pseudo-science fear mongering elsewhere. #StopAVN FTW.

Tuesday
Jan272015

Dodgy Tenpenny Ticket Sales

The speaking tour by US anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny no longer has any venues willing to host it. Every single venue that was set to host her talks has since cancelled her events, including the well respected Rydges Hotel.

A high-profile anti-vaccination campaigner's tour of Australia is in jeopardy after every venue booked to host her controversial seminars pulled out.

Sherri Tenpenny, an American osteopath who says vaccines are not safe and effective for children and that they are linked to conditions including autism, was booked to speak at 11 venues in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide in February and March.

According to the organisers of her "Birth Baby and Beyond" and "Raising Healthy Children Naturally" talks, hundreds of tickets have been sold for up to $200 each.

But after a pro-vaccination group's campaign to stop the tour, all of the venues have cancelled.

-Sydney Morning Herald

But anti-vaccination campaigners have never been quick to hand back refunds, and it looks like the Tenpenny Tour is no exception. Despite all 11 events no longer having a venue the GanKinMan Foundation; a fake organisation set up by Stephanie Messenger continues to sell tickets.

The tickets are now being sold as "Venue to be decided" and are non-refundable. So anyone who cannot make it to the unknown venue will not be given their money back. This also applies to people who already purchased tickets before the venues pulled out. This runs contrary to Australian Consumer Protection Law which entitles existing ticket holders to a refund since the product/service has been changed without their prior consent.

So I sent an email to the ticket broker Eventbrite to ask these questions.

Hello Eventbrite,

I am writing to express my concern about an event with tickets being sold via Eventbrite.

The event in question is promoted by the GanKinMan Foundation & Get Rid of SIDS Project, Inc

http://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/gankinman-foundation-amp-get-rid-of-sids-project-inc-7720649867

All venues that were originally set to host these events have since cancelled the venue bookings due to the controversial nature of the planned event. One such venue to cancel an event is the highly reputable Rydges Southpark Hotel, Adelade, Australia. As covered by the main stream media here: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jan/19/anti-vaccination-seminar-venues-all-pull-out-but-tour-will-go-ahead

I am concerned about the fact that Non-refundable tickets are still being sold by the event organisers despite having no planned venue available. Should the organiser find a new venue, will Eventbrite issue refunds to ticket holders who cannot make it to the new venues?

Another concern I have is that the “GanKinMan Foundation” does not appear to be a registered organisation and its “official” website gankinman.com is using a whois privacy service to conceal its ownership information. It should go without saying that a fake organisation anonymously selling non-refundable tickets to events without venues is a significant redflag for possible fraudulent activity.

I ask that your Trust & Safety Team look into the legitimacy of these events.

Thank You,

Sincerely,

~Dan Buzzard

I received the following response from Eventbrite.

Hello,

Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. To clarify, Eventbrite is a self service online ticketing and registration tool, so all content is provided by the event page creator.

After reviewing the events specified, we can confirm the event pages currently comply with Eventbrite terms of service.

You can review our terms of service at http://eventbrite.com/tosEventbrite has a robust Trust and Safety team, If an event listed on Eventbirite takes place significantly not as described or is cancelled without attendee communication, our processes, in conjunction with any dispute processes the payment processor has in place means that attendees always have a recourse for refunds. -EventBrite

Unfortunately Eventbrite wouldn't cancel the event because it doesn't currently violate their terms of service. However this is not all bad news because although the tickets are still on sale Eventbrite can still force a refund even if the event organisers would prefer to keep the money (After all what is a fake foundation for?).

An event without a venue or with a venue that is to far away from the original when the tickets were sold will likely count as "significantly not as described" and it will also be extremely hard to find a venues of comparable quality to those which cancelled. As it stands a full cancellation voluntary or otherwise is looking more and more likely by the day.

Thursday
Jan152015

Venue cancels after anti-vaxxers threaten to bomb it.

Sherri Tenpenny is an anti-vaccination campaigner based in the United States. She is currently planning a speaking tour in Australia where she plans to lie to parents and convince them to forgo life saving vaccinations for their children. Her tour is being organised by Stephanie Messenger, a woman who openly advocates measles for children. In my opinion Messenger is openly advocating child abuse by suggesting the measles in beneficial for children.

So it should come as no surprise that there is a big push by public health advocates to stop these health menaces from endangering the community. One way to do this is to contact venues and ask them to cancel, most are happy to oblige once they understand that their venue is to be used to spread lies and fear mongering with the aim of increasing the infant mortality rate.

But the anti-vaccination movement has started to fight back with the only tactic they understand. Violence and threats. Already two of the venues have been threatened by notorious anti-vaxxer Frankie Vazquez, who has suggested blowing up a restaurant under the alias Dolmio Joseph Vazques and burning a golf club.

Mr Vazques is no stranger to threats of violence. He sent the following to a critic of the Australian Vaccination Network.

He also had the following to say about vaccination researcher Dr Paul Offit.

Both venues that were threatened by Vazques have since cancelled the anti-vaxxers events. Bringing the total number of cancelled venues upto 10 out of 11. There are few better examples of Foot Bullets than this.

Thursday
Jan082015

Meryl Dorey likens health advocates to Charlie Hebdo gunmen.

Today Meryl Dorey, the founder of the nations most discredited sham organisation; The Australian Vaccination Network spoke on public radio the accuse her critics of being terrorists.

From 2 Minutes and 25 seconds the following exchange takes place on public radio.

Meryl Dorey: Now the organisation that is headlining, or pushing… um… this censorship that's all I can call it. Um They are a hate group called Stop the Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network and they are very much like the group in France that has been carrying out these actions .

Sally Cockburn (interrupting): No that's unfair Meryl they're not threatening to kill anyone.

Meryl Dorey: Well members of this group have actually gone on Twitter and said "I will contribute to a fund to hire a hitman to get this person" and they have done that. 

 This is a audio recording only, that's why the video is blank.

While I'm disappointed to see Dorey being given air time on 3AW Drive it did at least give her the opportunity to remind the public that she's a complete lunatic.

If you're an anti-vaxxer reading this you can report SAVN, and myself to the national security hotline at the following numbers.

Call: 1800 1234 00 
From outside Australia: (+61) 1300 1234 01
Email: hotline@nationalsecurity.gov.au 

MMS: 0429 771 822
TTY: 1800 234 889

Because promoting public health is the same as shooting up a building?

Monday
Dec222014

Homeopathy Plus guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct.

Today HomeopathyPlus is in court due to legal action taken by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission against them for making false and misleading claims about the efficacy of Homeopathy.

I was unable to attend but fortunately Maureen Chuck was in court to reports via twitter that Homeopathy Plus has been found guilty of Misleading and Deceptive conduct.

There will be a directions hearing on the 4th of February to decide what penalties Homeopathy Plus should face.

Update: 1730hrs

THE COURT DECLARES THAT:

The First Respondent and the Second Respondent have in trade and commerce: engaged in conduct that was misleading and deceptive or was likely to mislead and deceive, in contravention of section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law (“ACL”); and in connection with the supply or possible supply of homeopathic treatments or products (“Homeopathic Treatments”), and in connection with the promotion of the supply of Homeopathic Treatments, made false or misleading representations that the vaccine publicly available in Australia for whooping cough (“Vaccine”) is of a particular standard or quality in contravention of sections 29(1)(a) and (b) of the ACL, by publishing, or causing to be published, on the website www.homeopathyplus.com.au (“Website”): from 1 January 2011 until around 26 April 2012, an article entitled “Whooping Cough – Homeopathic Prevention and Treatment” (the “First Whooping Cough Article”) in which a representation was made to the effect that the Vaccine is short-lived, unreliable and no longer effective in protecting against whooping cough; from 11 January 2013 until around March 2013, an article entitled “Whooping Cough – Homeopathic Prevention and Treatment” (the “Second Whooping Cough Article”) in which a representation was made to the effect that the Vaccine may not be the best olution for, is of limited effect, and is unreliable at best, in protecting against whooping cough; and from 3 February 2012 until around March 2013 an article entitled “Government Data Shows Whooping Cough Vaccine a Failure” (the “Government Article”) in which a representation was made to the effect that the Vaccine is largely ineffective in protecting against whooping cough; when, in fact, the Vaccine is effective in protecting a significant majority of people who are exposed to the whooping cough infection from contracting whooping cough.

The First Respondent and the Second Respondent have in trade or commerce: engaged in conduct that was misleading and deceptive or was likely to mislead and deceive, in contravention of section 18 of the ACL; in connection with the supply or possible supply of Homeopathic Treatments, and in connection with the promotion of the supply of Homeopathic Treatments, made false or misleading representations that the Homeopathic Treatments are of a particular standard or quality in contravention of section 29(1)(a) and (b) of the ACL; and in connection with the supply or possible supply of Homeopathic Treatments, and in connection with the promotion of the supply of Homeopathic Treatments, made false or misleading representations that Homeopathic Treatments have a use or benefit in contravention of section 29(1)(g) of the ACL, 
by publishing, or causing to be published, on the Website:

the First Whooping Cough Article;
the Second Whooping Cough Article; and
the Government Article in conjunction with the Second Whooping Cough Article, in which representations were made to the effect that there was a reasonable basis, in the sense of an adequate foundation, in medical science to enable it or them (as the case may be) to state that Homeopathic Treatments are a safe and effective alternative to the Vaccine for the prevention of whooping cough when, in fact: there is no reasonable basis, in the sense of an adequate foundation, in medical science to enable the First Respondent and the Second Respondent to state that Homeopathic Treatments are safe and effective as an alternative to the Vaccine for the Prevention of Whooping Cough; and the Vaccine is the only treatment currently approved for use and accepted by medical practitioners in Australia for the prevention of whooping cough. -Federal Court of Australia

The order has not be entered yet so it isn't available on the Federal Court website until tomorrow. This judgement should shake the homeopathic community in Australia to it's core. It just goes to show that peddlers of bogus medicine can only get away with fraudulent practises for a limited time until the courts hold them to account.

Update 24th December 2014 1143Hrs

The full 105 page Judgement can be downloaded here.