It's a mistake to see anti-vaccine conspiratorialism as a purely grassroots movement. This is the new Gilded Age, so it's no surprise that, as The Washington Post reports, fat-cat money is involved.
A wealthy Manhattan couple has emerged as significant financiers of the anti-vaccine movement, contributing more than $3 million in recent years to groups that stoke fears about immunizations online and at live events — including two forums this year at the epicenter of measles outbreaksin New York’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.
Hedge fund manager and philanthropist Bernard Selz and his wife, Lisa, have long donated to organizations focused on the arts, culture, education and the environment. But seven years ago, their private foundation embraced a very different cause: groups that question the safety and effectiveness of vaccines....
The Selz Foundation provides roughly three-fourths of the funding for the Informed Consent Action Network, a three-year-old charity that describes its mission as promoting drug and vaccine safety and parental choice in vaccine decisions....
Thanks largely to the Selzes’s donations, ICAN is now the best-funded among a trio of organizations that have amplified concerns about vaccines. ICAN brought in $1.4 million in revenue in 2017, with just over $1 million supplied by the Selz Foundation, according to tax filings.
Bernard Selz is, naturally, a hedge-fund guy. Lisa Selz has worked in banking, and at Tiffany. They're straight out of Central Casting.
And they're evil.
They're not as bad as the Sackler family, whose relentless promotion of opioids has made them the worst mass murderers in America. The Sacklers like to give to art museums, or at least they used to, until major institutions told them they'd no longer take their blood money.
The Selzes aren't at the Sacklers' level. But that's a high bar to clear.
The Selzes are paying to spread disinformation about vaccines. So other recipients of their largesse should return their gifts and refuse any more of their cash.
The tax document reproduced by the Post lists the 2017 recipients of the Selz Foundation's money. Some are some charities that might really suffer without the Selzes' help (a food pantry in Montana that received $73,000, for instance). But some are large institutions that could well afford to take a stand.
So Columbia University should return the $522,500, and any other recent gifts, and accept no more from these people. Cornell should return the $65,886. New York Public Radio should return the $37,000. The Frick Collection, a well-endowed museum on Manhattan's Upper East Side, should return the $117,000.
Name them and shame them. They're a menace.
Published with permission from No More Mr. Nice Blog