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Bad PR: Cancer Charity Cancels Speech by Anti-Vaccine Activist Jenny McCarthy

Oprah and Jenny McCarthy

We don’t care what anyone says–for charities, all publicity is definitely not good publicity.

We have no idea why a Canadian cancer charity organization called the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation decided to hire former actress/semi-nude model/Jim Carrey flame Jenny McCarthy as a featured speaker at a breast cancer fundraising event scheduled for March 2. McCarthy is currently best known for speaking out against childhood vaccines, claiming that they gave her son autism and that they contain potentially lethal toxins (while proudly speaking about her own experiences with Botox). We would get into the science behind this insanity, but the point is: Jenny McCarthy is a controversial figure.

Our feelings regarding the anti-vaccine crowd are similar to our feelings about those opposed to circumcision: we understand where they’re coming from, but we don’t quite get it. Everyone’s entitled to his or her own opinion, of course, but these positions seem less than rational.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Foundation received a lot of backlash when the news of McCarthy’s appearance went public, but the group’s president says that she “didn’t expect” such a response and was surprised to find that the buzz surrounding the event was “about anything but cancer.”

We wonder why…

The group quickly canceled the appearance; McCarthy later claimed that she had to pull out because of a scheduling conflict, to which we reply: ha ha ha.

It’s almost never in an organization’s best interest to hire a personality who takes attention away from the matter at hand. Hiring McCarthy to speak about breast cancer today is kind of like booking Sarah Palin to headline an AIDS charity fundraiser circa 2009–tabloid sensationalism will drive the conversation and the organization will ultimately suffer for it.

Let’s put it this way: If we knew that a group we support wasted money paying for a Jenny McCarthy appearance, we would seriously rethink our next donation.

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