Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I am Bonnie Offit!!

Yes, It's true. I am, in reality, the wife of Dr. Paul Offit. JB Handley, one of the heads of Generation Rescue and Age of Autism, has put forth a challenge to blogger Sullivan, accusing him of actually being me in a post titled "Is Paul Offit's Wife Internet Troll/Autism Father 'Sullivan'?" In response, other bloggers, like Orac and Kev Leitch have tried to claim that they are me, but don't be fooled. I've finally decided to come clean, to keep Sullivan from unwarranted attacks.

How did this all start, though?

Well, Liz Ditz left this comment at Squidalicious:

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.

Apparently, Mr. Handley mistakenly thought she was referring to Sullivan with the "her" pronoun. Liz sent me an e-mail this morning letting me know about Handley's post and clarifying that she was referring to the individual who actually made the points, namely: Holly Robinson Peete. I can understand how Handley might make the error he did, which led him to look for evidence to support his already firmly held belief.

Mr. Handley doubts that Sullivan is the parent of an autistic child because:

* 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.

Yet later on, he quotes a fax from Sullivan:

It is with great dismay that I, a parent of a young child with autism

Handley also offers up his disbelief that Sullivan is just a layperson, because Sullivan speaks quite well on complex medical topics and shows a good understand of Dr. Offit's my husband's financial compensation for his rotavirus vaccine. Handley seems to stagger under the notion that if he can't understand something, then no other laypersons can understand them, either, ergo they must be a scientist. Furthermore, if his buddies Mark Blaxill and Dan Olmsted can't do quality investigative reporting to find what Sullivan found by doing a minor amount of research, then Sullivan simply must be Paul's wife.

One thing I'd wonder, though, is why, if Sullivan were Bonnie me, would he need to e-mail Paul about issues, instead of just talking at home?

Oh, I liked this little bit from Handley:

Evidence #5: Sullivan knows what’s in Paul Offit’s new book, Deadly Choices, even though it hasn’t been released yet

Sullivan writes:

While the word “autism” doesn’t appear at all on the Amazon.com page for the book, it will come as no surprise that the autism/vaccine parent groups play a prominent role in the book’s discussion of the modern anti-vaccine movement.

Dr. Offit’s books get read. By important people. I have little doubt this one will too.
As I said with my discussion of Panic Virus, there is no joy in realizing that some of the vocal autism-parent groups are being chronicled in this way. There is, however, relief that books such as these signal that perhaps the worst is over. The public and the press are no longer giving the idea of the vaccine-induced-autism-epidemic the credibility it enjoyed only a year or two ago.

The book isn’t out until January? Why does Sullivan already know what’s in it?

Perhaps a look at the full title of Paul's book would help: Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All. The description on Amazon includes:

Deadly Choices is the story of anti-vaccine activity in America—its origins, leaders, influences, and impact—and is a powerful defense of science in the face of fear.

In light of the info available at Amazon, perhaps the fact that organizations like Age of Autism are dominant in the anti-vaccine movement may have prompted Sullivan to make the connection.


What does Sullivan, a layperson father of a child with autism write about? Hannah Poling, Barbara Loe Fisher, Andy Wakefield, Generation Rescue, and Jenny McCarthy.

Hmm. I've written about all of those, too. See! I really am Bonnie!

You know, JB is really just making a sad attempt to "out" Sullivan and Bonnie Offit myself. In painting Sullivan as being, in reality, me, he is trying to goad Sullivan into revealing his identity. A secondary motive is to "out" me, which I guess he has succeeded at, since I've revealed my true identity here.

Well, Mr. Handley, you've succeeded in half of your goal. Hopefully Sullivan can relax for a bit while you try to dream up some other paranoid scheme.

Addendum: As further proof that I am Bonnie Offit, why else would Kim Stagliano have banned me from Age of Autism? Think about it.

If Handley takes his post down, here's a Google cached version.


  1. No, No, No! I am Bonnie Offit. I even have a pretty pink button that says so and I wrote a whole post proving that Handley's evidence clearly points to me!

  2. You raise convincing points, KWombles, but the truth remains that I am Bonnie Offit.

  3. Both of you can fight..I have decided that in the spirit of the day..I am "Bonnie Prince Charlie Offit"

  4. @kathleen

    Great, now I have a song about Bonnie Prince Charlie stuck in my head. It's a good song, mind, but still.

  5. Todd -- they posted my comment! OMFSM!

    As usual, I'm keeping a list. http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2010/11/so-wrong-it-is-funny-jb-handley-claims-sullivan-is-bonnie-offit.html -- updated when I am not laughing so hard I can't type.

  6. @Liz Ditz

    Will wonders never cease! I'm surprised they let you comment, since your experience directly contradicts Handley. I'm also rather amazed they let Kev post any comments.

  7. Here's my comment from ca. 12:10:
    I find it outrageously hypocritical that, after threatening to sue LBRB because I challenged the authenticity of a document on Poul Thorsen, AoA would be willing to post such an offensive and offensively stupid piece, and even allow John Stone to presume to lecture about verifying the identity of sources.

    I also note that AoA still refuses to acknowledge ME as the one who unearthed the actual figures for Paul Offit's Rotateq payments. I have already warned repeatedly not to reference my work without acknowledgment.

  8. The comments at JB's post are painful to read. I actually started coughing. I did.

    "Mr.Handley has made a prima facie case. Let Sullivan produce him/herself or stand comdemned." (http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/11/is-paul-offits-wife-internet-trollautism-father-sullivan.html?cid=6a00d8357f3f2969e20133f5f772b7970b#comment-6a00d8357f3f2969e20133f5f772b7970b)

    I doubt "Theodore" is an attorney of any kind... You can tell people's professions, nationality, and gender from the way they write, don't you know?

  9. @Ren

    Yeah, I saw that one. "Handley has made a solid speculative case! Sullivan is guilty until proven innocent! Burn the witch!"

    Then there was the comment that Handley himself posted, calling the skeptical bloggers "a society of chicken-s[censored for the kiddies]s."

    He's a classy fellow, that JB. I admire his courage to bully people into silence, instead of the weaker, cowardly approach that is addressing the actual arguments they make.

  10. Be fair Todd. JB is facing a terrifying enemy - Sullivan can read an Amazon page to find out what a book is about, even before it's published. Against such a foe, surely any weapons are justified - it's a mark of JB's great courage that he is willing to bravely face Sullivan's mighty powers. A lesser man would have balked...

  11. @Anonymous

    True. I do understand the difficulty involved with reading entries on Amazon and using that information to infer the probably contents of the books listed.

  12. Something I posted at 9:00:
    In the past, JB was able to command some "respect" from opponents by his propensity for threatening to sue them. It is clear from the avalanche of criticism and outright ridicule in response to this post that he has now lost all credibility even as a threat. So,AoA, time for damage control: delete this post, apologize for ever allowing it to be posted, and NEVER accept "contributions" from JB again. Not because anyone is going to sue you, but because the mileage your numerous critics are getting out of mocking this piece will do far more damage than a lawsuit.

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. I had to edit this post by Evil Possum, because I am not comfortable with someone posting identifiable information for other people. If you want to post your own address, that's fine. But I ask that you do not post addresses of other people.

    Here is Evil Possum's post:
    Something else I shared with AoA:
    This afternoon, I did the logical thing for Olmsted, Blaxill and/or Handley to do if they sincerely doubted Sullivan's identity, which was looking at IP info from one of his emails. I got the following information:
    NetType: IANA Special Use...
    OrgName: Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
    OrgId: IANA
    Address: [Edited by Todd W.]
    City: [Edited by Todd W.]
    StateProv: CA

    So, it looks AT LEAST completely plausible that Sullivan resides in California, which is an awfully long way from Paul Offit's house...

  15. Keep in mind, the address is for a service provider, not a residence. This was actually as far as I could get; someone who knows what he's doing might get further with the ip address number, which I chose to omit. That his emails can be traced to an address in California is more than sufficient to make a point.

  16. @Evil Possum

    I'm aware of that. If it is his home service provider, that is one thing. If it is an employer that is providing the service, and, therefore, the employer's address... I'd just rather not have addresses posted in relation to other individuals.

    I work in an field that takes personally identifiable information rather seriously, so this is my own little bias on the subject. Even if it is publicly available information, I would prefer that such information only be posted by the individual to whom it pertains.


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