NAA Has “Respect” for Pharma Blasting its Fundraising Efforts with Chili’s


Above: Business Insider’s Paul Szoldra – the actual “journalist” who led the smear campaign for the vaccine industry against the NAA fundraising event.

By Jake Crosby

After the vaccine industry bullied Chili’s into canceling its fundraising event for the National Autism Association’s (NAA’s) Big Red Safety Box Program to prevent children with autism from wandering off and drowning, NAA put out a statement expressing “respect” for the decision:

“Because of guest feedback about these views, Chili’s has opted to cancel today’s event. We respect their decision and ask everyone to please speak words of love and kindness.”

NAA also reiterated Chili’s statement, which concluded:

“As you know, Chili’s wants to make every Guest feel special and that includes listening to feedback from their Guests about this event.”

NAA even invoked a quote from Martin Luther King:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Somehow I don’t think the type of response from NAA was what Dr. King had in mind. So I responded on the thread underneath NAA’s Facebook post to point out the obvious:

“Chili’s obviously capitulated to a typical, orchestrated campaign by the vaccine industry, not ‘Guests’ as you say. But go ahead, pretend that’s all it was – ‘Guests’. Pharma is happy to know you respect its killing of your fundraising events, and I’m sure is feeling very encouraged to do the same again and again.”

Reportedly, NAA President Wendy Fournier told CNNMoney:

“It was obvious that the comments [Chili’s was] getting were a fight about vaccines. Everybody was all heated up and wanting to boycott. It was bullying. It was orchestrated by a small number of people who wanted to deny assistance to families that we serve through our program.”

In other words, NAA knowingly respects a decision that was based on “bullying” and deems this “small number of people who wanted to deny assistance to families that we serve through our program” Chili’s “Guests.”

Fournier knows bullying, having been called “full of shit” by the vaccine industry’s original media go-to guy Arthur Allen at the 2008 “Green Our Vaccines” rally in Washington, DC. That, however, did not stop Dan Olmsted of the NAA-sponsored Age of Autism blog from defending him:

“In the past I haven’t agreed with rally moms at the Green Our Vaccines march in D.C. booting writer Arthur Allen from covering the event…”

Yet NAA still has no problem keeping its hyperlink logo underneath Age of Autism’s “SPONSORS” list. Interestingly, the president of NAA told the Associated Press:

“It hasn’t been answered whether or not vaccines can cause autism.”

Really? 15 years ago an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the CDC said he would conclude the vaccine preservative thimerosal has done “harm,” meaning a broad array of disorders that included autism. And the US Government has compensated many children like Hannah Poling who have developed autism after their vaccinations since the early 1990’s.

Yet Wendy Fournier is still not sure. So what was she even doing at the 2008 “Green Our Vaccines” rally? For that matter, what was she doing on CNN in 2011 giving a totally unprepared defense of Dr. Andrew Wakefield?

Whatever the reasons, NAA is now in full retreat as pharma advances.

Jake Crosby is editor of Autism Investigated. He is a 2011 graduate of Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Health: Science, Society and Policy and a 2013 graduate of The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology. He currently attends the University of Texas School of Public Health where he is studying for a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on RedditPin on PinterestFlattr the authorDigg thisBuffer this pageShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon

34 Thoughts on “NAA Has “Respect” for Pharma Blasting its Fundraising Efforts with Chili’s

  1. Andrea on April 9, 2014 at 11:41 am said:


    I think Wendy and NAA handled this well. I guess it’s a little too PC for your liking. NAA’s main focus is not the vaccine issue. They are trying to protect the most vulnerable with autism. I think Wendy knows the science that exists to support the connection, but isn’t going to go out on a limb and jeopardize their organization’s focus.

    I think she and NAA offered an impactful statement to the IACC committee yesterday.

    I’m cutting them slack because they are one organization who is actually doing something to help people affected by this disorder.

    • If she really knows the science, then she should defend her position supported by the science. What she’s doing instead is jeopardizing all of us, let alone her organization’s focus. No public comment to that smoke-and-mirrors distraction and waste of federal money known as IACC is going to change that.

  2. Only morons, psychopaths and liars can claim: “It hasn’t been answered whether or not vaccines can cause autism.”.

    • Even before the NAA statement, I commented on the extent to which Chili’s cancellation might have been self-inflicted. The statement only solidified my suspicions.

  3. White Rose on April 9, 2014 at 3:54 pm said:

    Very respectfully to Andrea – Vaccine derived Autism & political correctness mix about as well as oil and water in my view .

    There is no existing Autism organisation that should be prepared to trade whether “vaccines are the cause of Autism” in exchange for their continued existence . If it comes down to that choice , all these organisations should stick to their original position and fold if necessary .

    Vaccines they say are “safe and effective” , they never tire of repeating this mantra.
    I say vaccines are always “unsafe and defective” .

    The 30% rise in Autism in just 2 years , really does mean this is an epidemic , a holocaust , its simply gigantic ,
    my wordwide international estimate of just Autism alone is 40+ million . So I’m not even counting all the other vaccine injuries , miscarriages , diabetes , MS , ME , SIDS , ADHD , narcolepsy & it goes on .
    There is simply no room for compromise on this message by anyone .

    As to our colleagues over at AoA who say there may be a case for the rubella vaccine (thanks Mark et al)
    15% of recipients end up with chronic arthritis (it takes no time at all to find these side effects – so why couldnt Mark Blaxill ?)

  4. Wendy Fournier on April 9, 2014 at 10:44 pm said:

    Come on, Jake. You know as well as I do that only select pieces of interviews end up getting published. Can you not see what we’re trying to do with that statement? People screaming at each other, endless horrible, hateful comments, for days. Enough already. We were trying to take the high road and end the madness that was doing nothing but hurting fundraising opportunities for the entire autism community. Do I have to lay out for you the work NAA has done over the last several years to bring attention to safety issues and try to prevent our children from dying? The IACC presentations, the wandering research study published in Pediatrics, the wandering diagnosis code, the AWAARE site, 10,000 Big Red Safety Boxes given to families, federal search and rescue guidelines for kids with autism who go missing, training first responders, parents, social workers. All of that work ignored and shit on while people scream at each other about vaccines. That screaming has been going on for years will continue to do so. In the meantime, somebody has do something to take care of our kids and families. We’re working our asses off to keep the kids who already have autism, vaccinated or not, from being pulled from the water in fucking pieces.

    • Well Wendy, your attempt at fixing a couple days of hostility for the short term will have consequences of encouraging pharma to pounce on your future fundraising efforts with utter ruthlessness in the long term. Now they know that all it takes to get the National Autism Association to capitulate to their demands is a couple days of abuse. You could have stayed on the high road without sending them that message. But instead, you gave them what they wanted and chose to veer off the high road anyway in your comment to me for pointing out the obvious. You’d have been better off expressing your outrage at people like Paul Szoldra who attacked your organization and denied it fundraising in the first place.

      • Carolyn Gammicchia on April 11, 2014 at 12:49 am said:


        NAA is there in the trenches and as Wendy has said, they are trying to prevent collateral damage that will not only cause more harm to NAA, but also our families.

        It amazes me when an attack like this takes place and we try to get folks to come out, do the right thing and just keep sending a positive message because good is being done, that folks can’t seem to grasp how important that is.

        Wendy has put herself out there numerous times to defend others and placed herself at risk. She doesn’t need this negativity. She also does have to do what is best for an organization that was not treated right within all of this.

        Yes well over a decade…..ten years of dedicated hard work is damaged by this. They don’t need more damage at this point. The NAA is one of a handful of organizations that help families daily and does this right. To attack them too due to their connection to the folks at Age of Autism too just isn’t right Jake and it’s displacing ill feelings due to what transpired with you.

        What needs to be done is us to sit back and regroup and think how can we collaborate to ensure something like this does not happen again and that the good work that is being done does not go by the wayside. Wendy doesn’t deserve to be personally attacked. This woman has sacrificed much for others.

        Let us all do what is right and identify who the real bad folks are in this.

        NAA has assisted our family. I don’t know where we’d be without Joanne Pike’s initial support and Wendy’s efforts as well as many others with NAA. Jake you too have fought a fight that many would not and have assisted this community very much.

        So I do ask that we really think about moving forward and beyond what can cause damage. We also cannot let this happen because the negative effects it has can cost lives in the end. That is not acceptable.

        Thank you,

        • Carolyn, read Wendy’s comment and my comment, and tell me who is doing the personal attacking. I’m not negating all that she’s done, but she’s outraged at the wrong person. Rather than attacking me, she should be standing up to the people are actually attacking her. I haven’t been attacking her; I’m just pointing out that by responding the way she did to the people who have, she is only going to bring more attacks onto herself along with the rest of us.

          • Carolyn Gammicchia on April 13, 2014 at 12:34 am said:


            Wendy isn’t attacking you. Her position is from one of frustration and having gone through this terrible situation. As we’ve discussed, this adds fuel to a fire we don’t need. Folks love when they see things like this, especially those trying to show we are not supportive of each other’s efforts. What appears to be infighting. In an essence it may not be, it could be respectful discussion, but folks will look at this as otherwise and hence lies the difficulty in this for our community.

            I admire you Jake but I think at times you lose sight of what transpires and who the real problem is. It’s not Wendy in this case. It’s those that attacked NAA and I know you have that realization.

            The difficulty comes in the collateral damage that is caused even by this piece and how it will be misrepresented.

            Wendy represents a Board of Directors and a membership. That is who she was representing with her statements and the organizations position in this. They chose to do what is right, move on to do their work and handle this in a way that will best meet the needs of the autism community and the families that need them. It’s not about how one wins, it’s about moving forward with dignity and grace and that is what NAA has done. You portraying them in a negative light for doing so I feel is not appropriate.

            If you are a member of NAA then take it up with the BOD. Otherwise you really have no standing here.

            Thank you,

            • Just because I am not an NAA member does not mean I have no standing to criticize anything the organization does; that’s just ridiculous. I’ve already told you on Facebook that I never solely blamed Fournier for the NAA statement; it is moving us backward, not forward. And I’m not going to keep quiet about it just for the sake of looking unified either.

    • Wendy, A rational response would be to organize people to campaign against Chili’s. You have been dumbed down to follow politically correct procedure by respecting the enemy. Most Americans have been dumbed down though so that’s probably not your fault. Americans are so stupid now that they even respect bribed, lying scumbags in Congress. Maybe you should start attacking your servants in our 100% corrupt Congress. They’re the criminals who won’t stop the Medical Industry from causing autism.

  5. Taximom5 on April 10, 2014 at 4:17 am said:

    Jake, NAA wasn’t in a position to capitulate to demands. That was Chili’s who capitulated. NAAwas stuck either way, and I think Wendy handled it beautifully. NAA comes out smelling like a rose, Chili’s looks like a wimp, and the vaccine bullies look like bullies.

    I gather you would prefer more direct confrontation–but that can be very, very risky, with situations blowing up in your face.

    Please don’t castigate people for coming to a different decision than you would have made.

    • NAA didn’t have to say it had “respect” for Chili’s decision to back down. Frankly, they both came out looking cowardly, with pharma coming out appearing stronger and more encouraged than ever to pull this type of behavior again. NAA didn’t come out smelling like roses with Wendy Fournier’s above comment.

      It isn’t just about what I would do differently, it’s about how NAA’s response sends the message to pharma that it could do this again and again and have the results of its bullying respected. That hurts all of us.

  6. White Rose on April 10, 2014 at 7:57 am said:

    This fight is the dirtiest of all fights . And the NAA has played fair (and I suppose their integrity has to be admired) however I dont see any integrity being shown by Paul Offit or Julie Gerberding or any of the other players in this nastiest of games – who as we speak are continuing to maim the worlds children in an accelerated and industrial vaccine program .

    I tip my hat to the people at the NAA for all they have done for the children , but those very children shouldnt have been vaccine-maimed in the first place . And a tsunami of children is about to follow those that the NAA is already trying to help . Just wait for the statistics 2010-2014 . just you wait .
    I suspect those figures will be so bad the government will try to stop reporting this statistic (as they have already done in the UK – where it seems autism statistics appear to be part of the official secrets act.)

  7. One Mom of 2 Million on April 10, 2014 at 10:07 am said:

    The constant pandering and excuses are disgusting. It boggles my mind when people feel they have to cater to people who tiptoe around people who have damaged and continue to damage our children and our families. There are statements that should NEVER be made and “respect” that should never be given, publicly or privately. Who cares if Chili’s loses a percentage of a profit for a brief period of time, or not? Is it on the same scale as what has happened to our kids?

    Wendy (and sadly she’s not the only one) has set us back with her comment and her misdirected vitriol towards the person forthright enough to call her on it. Will she be like the others and not admit to it, while soaking up the comments from other people trying to whitewash it?

    Wendy, you made a mistake and yet you are angry at others?

    LEARN from it. Grow. Playing victim helps no one.

    There is a time for being PC and brown-nosing but this vaccine holocaust is NOT one of them. It hasn’t helped one. single. child. If ever there was a time to draw a line in the sand, this issue is it.

    • Age of Autism defended Arthur Allen after he bullied Wendy Fournier, yet NAA then sponsored Age of Autism and continues to do so. Autism Investigated criticizes NAA for caving to days of bullying, so she shows up here and attacks me in the comments. For someone who wants the bullying to stop, she is sending out exactly the wrong message.

  8. stephanie buckley on April 10, 2014 at 12:42 pm said:

    I have posted several times on this subject and I’m hoping this will be the last. Attacking NAA serves no one, least of all, the ones we are all charged with serving. The needs of the autism community are immense. NAA is trying to focus on a subset of the most vulnerable. It’s not about brown nosing or being political correct. All one needs to do is read Gravity Wins to understand where we are as a community and the desperation we feel. I agree with you Jacob, this never should have happened to our kids but it did, and now we parents are left with the results. We have no choice but to deal with the consequences. And as for Wendy, anyone who knows Wendy, knows Wendy. She is a mom, she is one of us, her heart and soul is the same. She has made sacrifices on behalf of our children that many of us are unable or unwilling to make. Her track record speaks for itself. Please stop chastising her. She is not the enemy and neither is NAA. Thank you Jacob, and NAA, and Safeminds, and TACA, and Age of Autism and everyone, everywhere who stand up and fight for this most deserving of populations. I think the lesson learned is we need to support each other. We all want the same thing.

    • NAA is not the enemy, so we should all be disappointed that NAA caved to the enemy.

    • Stephanie, NAA, Safe Minds, TACA and Age of Autism, among others, are all enemies of autistic children. They all encourage us to pander to Congress when we should be firing Congress. Did you know you were born with a DUTY to fire Congress once they became 100% corrupt? Most people don’t know that. The controlled opposition leaders in the autism community don’t want you to know that that’s your right as an American.
      Did you know we can file criminal charges against every member of Congress ourselves? They stopped us from suing drug companies but they can’t stop us from filing charges against them. Why aren’t your alleged leaders telling you these things? Are they stupid or are they corrupt themselves?

  9. With no disrespect to anyone, I wonder, too, if playing nice at this point is just completely the wrong thing to do. It does tend to say that this is acceptable behaviour when it just is not. Bullying doesnt even quite describe it. It is orchestrated hate campaigning. Who is this Paul Szoldra?

    • Paul Szoldra is the Business Insider “journalist” who began the orchestrated hate campaign against NAA; he is also pictured above holding a bazooka. And I’m not talking about the bubble gum.

      • Okay, so a quick look showed that he has a BS (I couldn’t have put it better myself) from some university in “Entrepreneurship.” He looks like a complete wannabe and has written an article on how Facebooks “Likes” have lessened (this is problematic apparently), which, for someone such as himself, is completely understandable.
        He must have got some sense of “importance” or validation from the whole Chilis ganging up.
        As for his military background, all I can say is there are some really scary things that go on there for women.

        • And his current boss Henry Blogdet was permanently banned from the securities industry, forced to pay $2 million in fines and another $2 million disgorgement. Meanwhile, the “journalist” Michael Specter plagiarized millionaire vaccine industrialist Paul Offit’s talking points in the very book Szoldra quoted. They’re all in great company…

        • Just to add – Business Insider also runs a subscription research service called BI Intelligence, which boasts its customers include employees from WebMD. Speak of the devil, WebMD just released a 13-minute indoctrination video of Paul Offit and pharma-funded bio”ethicist” Arthur Caplan.

          • Ah, the plot thickens.
            Paul Szoldra’s involvement in Chili’s cancellation of the wandering project makes more sense now- he’s apparently studying for a journalism degree.
            So on the one hand, he has an interest in entrepreneurial “BS” and yet he’s heading into a career that will reduce him to being a virtual puppet (albeit he will get lots of “Likes” from pharma bots – and being Liked seems important to him)
            Hmmm, which aspect will win out? I predict a lucrative career for this jerk because he has shown that not only will he take it from pharma but he will actually initiate it.

            • Actually it just gets funnier the more you notice it. The guy literally mentions his Facebook friends and Likes, his number of “fans,” “followers,” and “visitors,” at every given opportunity. I feel embarrassed for him.

  10. Pingback: Canary Flies to Chili's Boycott, Dumps on Autism Investigated

  11. Pingback: Chili’s – Battleground For Vaccine/Autism Debate

  12. Pingback: The Autism Policy Reform Coalition's Futile Fix - Under Construction? | Autism Investigated

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Navigation