Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation

The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation had planned on having Jenny McCarthy as the celebrity fitness trainer at their Bust a Move charity fundraiser next month. This caused considerable pushback from people who recognize how harmful her anti-vaccine campaign has been.

Friday the Ottawa Citizen reported that the Foundation has corrected their error and canceled her appearance.

But the foundation was caught off-guard by the controversy surrounding their choice. Critics felt she was had no place at a fundraiser for medical research given her use of her celebrity to promote views considered dangerous by most of the medical establishment.

The foundation received dozens of emails blasting their choice. Opponents mounted a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #dropjenny, asking the charity to cut ties with McCarthy. Even Isra Levy, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, wrote a letter to the Citizen stressing the importance of vaccination in preventing diseases.

I am surprised they were caught off guard with this. McCarthy is the public face of the anti-vaccine movement. Even a cursory search would identify this aspect of here celebrity, and since anti-vaccine includes Gardasil, a cancer group should be aware of their opponents.

In cancelling her appearance, the Foundation did not acknowledge their error, or the attention from the medical community but blamed the media attention that drew the attention away from cancer.

A press release the foundation issued Friday to announce the change did not acknowledge the criticism, and made only an oblique reference to the controversy, saying, “Since Tuesday’s announcement of the celebrity fitness instructor for the Bust a Move Ottawa, attention has shifted away from breast cancer awareness and fundraising.

Please everyone, when you are planning a media based event, take a careful look at who you are putting out front.

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