To whom it may concern,
You are about to host an anti-vaccine seminar and dinner.
I fully understand you were not made aware that this is an anti-vaccine event. Three other venues, of the five who have cancelled their bookings, have stated they were directly misled by Stephanie Messenger. The evidence of those statements is contained in this blog post:
The speaker you are hosting in your venue is Sherri Tenpenny. Tenpenny states that babies should receive no vaccines. This can only lead to more dead babies if successful:
Tenpenny has stated that it is her goal to scare parents out of immunising their children:
Tenpenny claims that vaccines are responsible for mass murderers, precisely like the mass murderer who massacred children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I want you to let that sink in for a moment. There is a level of callousness at work here which is beyond most of us:
Tenpenny refers to childhood immunisation as “torture…child abuse…dark superstition…black magic…a war on the human constitution”, and provokes the vilification of health care professionals using defamatory and violent speech. For direct evidence of all of the preceding, please read the following blog post. In it you will notice 47 separate media items linked, none of which support Tenpenny’s anti-vaccine claims, and most of which note the threat posed to health by anti-vaccine campaigners:
Another argument being used pertains to free speech. Proponents argue that Tenpenny’s free speech is being impeded if venues cancel her seminars.
In Australia we have no implicit right to free speech. We have freedom of expression; but, that freedom of expression is limited. Two of the areas in which freedom of expression is limited are public order, and public health. So, the free speech argument has no bearing on any of Tenpenny’s activities in Australia. From the Attorney-General’s website:
Associate Professor Bruce Arnold, School of Law, Canberra University has also stated quite clearly that the claim of a right to free speech in Australia, for those making misleading health claims, is simply wrong. This is his submission to the recent Parliamentary Inquiry, regarding the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission, into misleading and dangerous health claims:
So, as we can see, there is no inherent right to free speech in Australia. There are certainly limitations placed on the freedom of expression in law. Put simply, no one has the right to a pulpit from which to spread dangerous and misleading information which most certainly comes at the expense of public health and safety. And venue owners, as citizens of the community, have a duty to protect all members of the community, especially the most vulnerable: babies.
Tenpenny herself does not allow for any free speech on any of her fora. She actively censors anyone who would correct her misinformation. Why would anyone give her another forum when she heavily censors her own? From her Facebook page, Dr Tenpenny on Vaccines:
I sincerely ask you to reconsider your decision to host an event run by people who pose a threat to public health and safety. They have plenty of their own fora from which they spread their misinformation at the expense of the speech of critics whom they censor with a heavy, heavy hand; critics whose only goal was to correct health misinformation.
Public health is too important to us all to allow exponents of misinformation to use the legitimacy of established, trusted venues such as yours.
Brisbane: Michael’s Oriental Restaurant & Function Centre [CANCELLED]
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Adelaide: Rydges South Park [CANCELLED]
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Please let them know how you feel, with polite, but, firm emails.