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Arts and Entertainment

The Anti-Vaxx Documentary Behind Jim Carrey's Twitter Rant

Gov. Jerry Brown signed California legislation today on strict and mandatory vaccination requirements for schoolchildren (Photo by weerayut ranmai via Shutterstock)
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Jim Carrey led the celebrity anti-vaxx charge on Twitter yesterday after Governor Jerry Brown signed one of the strictest mandatory vaccination bills in the nation, and since it's 2015 it all could be traced back to #viral #marketing and #networking.

Carrey's rant ended with links to the website and promotional material (.pdf) of an anti-vaccine documentary called Trace Amounts, which puts its focus on the mercury content of thimerosal, a substance no longer put in nearly all childhood vaccines that is considered non-threatening anyway. Despite the film essentially crying wolf over a whole lot of nothing, Trace Amounts has also been promoted by the likes of Alicia Silverstone and Cindy Crawford—the fruit of a targeted marketing campaign.

"A lot of it has been based on everybody's [known] connections—you know how this town works," Trace Amounts' publicist told The Hollywood Reporter. According to THR, the filmmakers recruited "dissident voices from the medical establishment," including a notable "pediatrician-to-the-stars" to spread the cause of the film and gather like-minded Hollywood stars at private screenings of the film. "We're having to circumvent the mainstream news media [to promote Trace Amounts], so it's no doubt important to have these high-profile people helping us get the word out," said Eric Gladen, one of the film's directors. "The momentum is building."

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The film has not gotten a formal theatrical release, but is available on DVD and online via its official website. Featuring anti-vaccination activist Robert Kennedy, Jr., the film came about after Gladen fell ill by after getting tetanus shot at the age of 29.

Meanwhile, in the middle of Jim Carrey's promotion of the film, the actor tweeted three photos of anguished boys with the all-caps caption, "TOXIN FREE VACCINES, A REASONABLE REQUEST!" However, as Buzzfeed points out, the mom of one of the boys is unhappy with Carrey's use of her son's image. The boy, Alex Echols, has autism as the result of a genetic condition known as tuberous sclerosis, and his mom felt that Carrey using her son's image was improper. "Jim Carrey has a huge platform—a huge following —and is misrepresenting my son's image by attaching it to his anti-vax rant," said Karen Echols. Although the photo technically fell under fair use, it has since been taken down.

Here's the trailer for Trace Amounts if you are curious: