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Autism center sues over blog posts calling it a fraud and worse

Posted Sep 06 2012 8:29pm

The idea that an autism center would sue over blog posts is the sort of story that would, of course, attract my attention. But when I saw the blurb for Autism center sues over blog posts calling it a fraud and worse I was taken back to the before time of autism blogging.

Here’s what I read:

Autism Intervention Specialists of Worcester and principal Nassim Aoude today filed a federal libel suit against a New Hampshire man who says it pedals “horseshit” because it refuses to accept his theory that autism is caused by mercury in…

For those who have been online for a few years, guessing the identity of the “New Hampshire man who says it pedals “horseshit” “, especially readers of this blog, making the ID would probably be easy. Here’s a bit from the story:

Autism Intervention Specialists of Worcester and principal Nassim Aoude today filed a federal libel suit against a New Hampshire man who says it pedals “horseshit” because it refuses to accept his theory that autism is caused by mercury in vaccines.

In its suit, filed in US District Court in Boston, Autism Intervention Specialists wants John Best’s blog posts about it replaced with retractions and a suitably large, if unspecified, amount of damages.

John Best was one of the early generation of Generation Rescue’s “Rescue Angels ” but even GR wanted distance from him. Mr. Best attacked a number of people online in years past. Autism Intervention Specialists is neither the first nor the last to be attacked.

I am a bit conflicted about this lawsuit. Freedom of speech is very important to me (even outside of writing). Autism Intervention Specialists may be in for a mini Streisand Effect. Aside from the fact that recovering damages from Mr. Best is unlikely at best, AIS should read Mr. Best’s writing and his YouTube videos and ask whether any reasonable person would give Mr. Best any credibility whatsoever.



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