Is Dr. Bonnie Offit masquerading on the web as an autism parent and prolific blogger named “Sullivan”?
Before I present evidence that Sullivan is actually Bonnie Offit, let’s look at the evidence that Sullivan isn’t who Sullivan claims to be. Commenting at the Squidalicious blog , Liz Ditz, another blogger, made the following comment
Sullivan (who, like you, I know in real life) writing at Left Brain Right Brain, links to this post Two of her points I found particularly important: #4 -- the lag in diagnosis & treatment for African American, Asian and Hispanic children #7 -- There are many adults with autism, some diagnosed in adulthood. (6:04 PM)
If you read the above post again closely, you’ll see 2 things: 1) Liz Ditz claims to know Sullivan personally, and 2) Liz Ditz refers to Sullivan as “her.”
Conclusion: Sullivan claims to be a man, and is actually a woman. Anyone who reads dozens of Sullivan’s posts, as I have, would probably reach the same conclusion. It’s hard to hide your gender when you write, much as it’s hard to hide your nationality (Sullivan is clearly an American, too).
Sullivan also claims to be a layperson. If you read many of Sullivan’s posts, you’ll quickly see you are dealing with a person who is smart, organized in their thinking, and extremely facile with complex medical terminology. One example
“Kev,all mitochondrial DNA is maternally inherited. There is one case in the literature of someone inheriting the mDNA from a father, but it is called, “the exception that proves the rule”.
Mitochondrial disorders are not caused always by mDNA. The mitochondria processes material which is determined both by mDNA and nuclear (nDNA). So, if the cell is creating proteins that are incorrect for the needs of the mitochondria, the mitochondria will malfunction.”
This is just one of hundreds of examples. Sullivan writes with great clarity and ease on very complex medical and scientific processes and cites published medical research ad nauseum.
Conclusion: Is Sullivan a layperson with a remarkable gift for explaining complex medical and scientific issues? I highly doubt it.
The final point is, admittedly, the hardest to refute. Sullivan claims to be the parent of a child with autism. Is she? Here’s what I know
* I have yet to see a single post where Sullivan mentions her autistic child in any material way or reveals anything about the pain of caring for an affected child.
* What parent of an autistic child would write, “my main concern is to create a better world for all people, but especially for people with disabilities. Autism is a great challenge. People with autism deserve respect and support”? Give me a break! A real parent would only have one main concern, the concern we all share: giving our own child the best possible life!
Does the evidence show that Sullivan is actually a woman, a doctor/scientist, and not a parent of an autistic child? I’ll let you be the judge.
Is Sullivan actually Bonnie Offit?
Let me be clear: I have circumstantial evidence that points to Bonnie Offit being Sullivan. I will spell out what I have, and let you be the judge.
Evidence #1: Sullivan brings up and protects Offit at every turn
I ran into Sullivan again, after my appearance on PBS’ Frontline, once again going out of her way to comment about me. Check out this dialogue
Sullivan: JB Handley in his own words: "With less than a half-dozen full time activists, annual budgets of six figures or less, and umpteen thousand courageous, undaunted, and selfless volunteer parents, our community, held together with duct tape and bailing wire, is in the early to middle stages of bringing the U.S. vaccine program to its knees." That's his goal. To bring the vaccine program to its knees. It really is a war on vaccines. Kids like mine need advocates who will do something valuable, not work to hurt children like Mr Handley.
Compassionmom: Do you think he declared war because vaccines caused his son to have a lifelong neurological disability? Seems like a decent reason.
Sullivan: I don't know why JB Handley does the things he does. I just know he does things that are dangerous. He is quite capable of, how does he say it, expanding and exaggerating the truth. Take a read of his pseudo paper on childhood mortality and vaccines. It is a case study in misusing facts.
Compassionmom: Reading his actual quote, he seems to be implying that until the program is brought to its knees, no one will compromise? He's probably right.
Sullivan: He is saying that his community is working to crash the vaccine program
Sullivan: CompassionMom, are you aware that the number of people who filed with the vaccine court claiming autism as vaccine injury has dropped off dramatically? At the peak, 2,700 families filed in one year. Last year only 11 families. Sure, many people follow JB Handley. But his day has past.
Sullivan: Many people believed him when he said that autism was merely a misdiagnosis for mercury poisoning and all you had to do was chelate for 2 years. Many years later here we are--JB Handley was clearly wrong. I haven't seen his apology
Compassionmom: And, many of us parents side with JB. There, are we any better off. Sullivan, you appear to follow JB like some kind of stalker, no?
Sullivan: CompassionMom, that would be "no". Would you call JB a stalker for his obsession with Paul Offit?
I remember reading this exchange at the time and thinking what an odd non-sequitor Sullivan added to the conversation by bringing up Paul Offit. It makes more sense now.
Later, Sullivan went out her way to drop a huge shout-out, probably to her own husband
Sullivan: This autism parent offers his gratitude to Dr. Offit for his efforts to correct the misinformation that is causing so much harm to the autism communities
How many random fathers of children with autism feel compelled to give Paul Offit a shout-out? He’s not even an autism doctor.
Evidence #2: Sullivan is in communication with Paul Offit, with great insight
Here’s an exchange between Sullivan and our very own Jake Crosby at the LBRB Blog
Jake Crosby: Paul Offit, if you are reading this, I would really appreciate a straightforward answer to the question I sent to you via email. Thanks.
Sullivan: Jake Crosby, in my experience, Dr. Offit doesn’t read blogs.
Jake Crosby: He doesn’t? [Jake offers a link where Offit is clearly in the blog mix] HERE
Sullivan: I’m aware of that comment, Mr Crosby. Can you find a second? I am not aware of any others. I am aware that when I have mentioned blogs in emails to Dr. Offit and he was unaware of them. I have been known to bring some to his attention that were particularly bad. I don’t expect or have any experience that he reads lbrb.
J.B. Handley is co-founder of Generation Rescue .