Anti-Vaxxers Are Fighting with a 12-Year-Old on Facebook, and He’s Winning

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marco-arturoSome grown-up men and women, many of whom are parents, are attacking a 12-year-old boy on Facebook for the egregious crime of saying that vaccines don’t cause autism. The 12-year-old is the most mature voice in the entire argument.

Today Jezebel recounts the story of Marco Arturo, a cool, smart, 12-year-old boy who makes videos about science and posts them on his Facebook page. Not long ago, Marco made a video called “Vaccines Cause Autism.” Uh-oh! But in the video he holds up a folder and says, “Every single bit of evidence that is in the observable universe that vaccines cause autism is in this folder.”

Then he opens it and starts tossing out blank pages. “There’s nothing! I think it might be because there’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that vaccines are linked to autism in any way whatsoever.”

It’s a pretty funny little video by a tiny, budding Bill Nye. It’s just the sort of thing that can brighten a person’s day and bring a smile to someone’s face.

Then a bunch of alleged adults lost their shit. 

Marco told Buzzfeed that people–adults–have been emailing him telling him that he should have been aborted, that he is obviously autistic, and that he is “the living proof that vaccines cause retardation.”

Seriously, these are things that adults are saying to a 12-year-old boy.

Marco even says he’s receiving death threats, which is so Not OK that it just set all the mom-hackles on the back of my neck standing on end. I want to growl at something.  He’s a child! He’s a smart child, but he’s still a child.

In addition to harassing a 12-year-old on Facebook, some anti-vax activists are now insisting that Marco himself is a hoax being perpetrated by the pharmaceutical industry, because apparently they think the mighty marketing arm of the pharmaceutical industry is all, “You know what would be effective? A kid on Facebook with a few thousand followers.”

(Marco has a lot more now, thanks in large part to the attention his video got from Ashton Kutcher and all the people losing their adult shit at a 12-year-old making science videos.)

An anti-vax blogger going by the pseudonym Levi Quackenboss asserts that Marco’s family is writing all his material and he is just a paper-tossing YouTube puppet. She argues that Marco can’t really be a 12-year-old, because 12-year-old children don’t sound smart the way he does and can’t string together coherent sentences the way he does. As evidence, she says that her diaries at that age were nowhere near as eloquent as Marco’s speeches. With that argument, she just burns herself, though. We all know smart 12-year-olds. Remember Tavi Gevinson at 12? Quackenboss might not have been a particularly erudite 12-year-old, but that doesn’t really say anything about anyone but her.

If anti-vaxxers wanted to be taken more seriously, they should probably work on not harassing 12-year-olds. Especially when the 12-year-olds are winning.