Secret Anti-Vaxxer Film Campaign Targeted Jim Carrey, Other Wealthy Celebs

Jim Carrey - H 2015
AP Images/Invision

Jim Carrey - H 2015

The actor cited the film 'Trace Amounts' as the basis for his lengthy Twitter invective against Gov. Jerry Brown, who signed the controversial SB 277 bill that requires all schoolchildren to be vaccinated, regardless of personal beliefs.

After California Gov. Jerry Brown signed one of the nation's strictest immunization bills into law on Monday, Jim Carrey let loose on Twitter about the "neurotoxins" and "mercury laden thimerosal" purportedly contained in common vaccines.

During his diatribe, the actor implored his 14.7 million followers to watch Trace Amounts, a 2014 documentary that attempts to raise alarms about the mercury levels in vaccines. "If you really care about the kids you will [view it]," he wrote on June 30. "It's shocking!"

Other prominent Hollywood fans have included Danny Masterson, Ed Begley Jr. and Cindy Crawford, who tweeted on April 29 that it's a "must see film!"

This burbling industry groundswell of support is no accident. It's the result of a carefully executed grassroots campaign that saw Trace Amounts filmmakers and several like-minded dissident voices from the medical establishment, including the Santa Monica-based pediatrician-to-the-stars Dr. Jay Gordon, argue their case against mandatory immunization.

At the center of this effort has been what Trace Amounts' publicist, Jenni Weinman Voake, describes as a "handful" of influencer-oriented, salon-style screenings held at private homes since March, everywhere from the wealthy Pacific Palisades and Beverly Hills to Silver Lake and Calabasas. (An investigation published in The Hollywood Reporter in September 2014 found that school vaccination rates in many affluent Los Angeles neighborhoods were dangerously low.)

These events have targeted executives and celebrities — think Alicia Silverstone, Kirstie Alley and Adrian Grenier — known for harboring particular concern for the environment or establishment medical practices.

"A lot of it has been based on everybody's [known] connections," says Voake. "You know how this town works."

The slickly produced film, directed by a Southern California-based civil engineer named Eric Gladen, is framed as his extensive inquiry — after falling ill following a tetanus shot at the age of 29 — into what he believes to be the malignant effects of the mercury-based preservative thimerosal, and the related supposed cover-up of the issue by government and corporate interests. "This [problem] is one of the biggest crimes against humanity," he tells THR. "This is an atrocity." (Thimerosal was removed from children's shots except for some flu vaccines years ago, and there is broad scientific consensus that it's not a threat.)

Free-range social activist Robert Kennedy Jr. appears in the documentary, which has had no formal theatrical rollout but has gained a following in activist circles. He's helped Gladen by barnstorming the country in recent months, a tour that included an appearance on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher. (The host has himself been outspoken in his vaccine criticism.)

Gladen describes himself as "disappointed" by Brown's signing of SB 277, blaming the state legislature's decision on being biased by "a mainstream news media that's censored by pharmaceutical companies, as well as a gross negligence of the facts." He adds, "We're having to circumvent the mainstream news media [to promote Trace Amounts], so it's no doubt important to have these high-profile people helping us get the word out. The momentum is building."