Actresses Tisha Campbell Martin and Tonja Walker joined actors-turned-activists Steve Burton and Benjamin Bratt this week in criticizing the decision to remove two actors who denounced a measles vaccination mandate last year.
In a post on Twitter, Bratt challenged ABC TV President Channing Dungey’s claim that he and the other actors had not been pressured into criticising the mandate. “Tell that to my colleagues in the @GeneralHospital cast that were compelled to issue statements against the @cdpharmaceuticals mandated #MeaslesVaccine policy,” Bratt wrote.
Fellow actors Ben Winchell, James Bland, Omar Gooding, Nelson Lee, Stephanie Renee Posey, and Max Schneider also took part in the protest against the mandate, which allowed public school children in New York and California to skip vaccinations for diseases like measles and mumps if they have the required paperwork.
Star actor Stephen “tWitch” Boss abruptly quit as a cast member of ABC’s daytime soap, General Hospital, at the start of November after he was warned not to take part in a televised statement saying he opposed the mandate. The cast was scheduled to participate in a panel discussion with ABC but canceled, becoming the latest acting celebrities to denounce vaccination campaigns.
An insider told WTF Now that real-life father Jeremiah Bradley dropped out of the demonstration because he couldn’t take the time away from his young children.
The boycott is in direct opposition to legislation introduced in several states, including Washington, New York, California, and New Jersey, allowing school children exemptions from the measles vaccine.
In a letter to federal officials, Bratt and Harvey Meyerowitz, vice-president of the US Public Health Association (USPHA), called the legislation “a thinly-veiled attempt to scare parents into believing that the measles vaccine is unsafe, and to force their children to participate in the mass-based immunization policies required by many of our modern, wealthy states.
“You have set up a page with fake medical information designed to scare parents who do not agree with vaccinations,” they wrote. “Under the guise of facilitating interstate commerce, you have developed a system of coercion that creates mandatory vaccination programs.”
In the letter, Bratt claimed that “the California law should be repealed outright”, because it violates personal, home, and religious exemptions and “gives government the authority to create and enforce religious exclusions”.
Moore recently gave birth to a son and announced on Twitter that he and his wife, Xochitl Torres-Moore, intended to refuse inoculations for their child.
He later told WTF Now that “it’s well known and established in this industry that I haven’t been vaccinating, but I hadn’t made that clear”.
Bratt, who plays Agent Bobbi Morse on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., previously used his page to publicly denounce “McDonald’s hegemony of fast food,” questioned the legitimacy of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s education reform policy, and “threatened” the health of Zoë Ball’s family by saying: “You need to be on fukin vitamins and run.”
This article was amended on 3 December 2018. An earlier version said that Tisha Campbell Martin had become an anti-vaccination campaigner. The actress joined the anti-vaccination movement, but had in fact made her views known before her daughter Bella was born.