Terry Rossio, the writer behind the beloved 2001 film Shrek, has copped a harsh backlash on social media this weekend, after going on a wild Twitter spree in which he compared criticism of the anti-vaccination movement to the use of the n-word.
I was going to say that this news is a punch in the childhood, but if you’re reading this, then at least you got to have a childhood, because you didn’t die of an easily preventable disease thanks to some dumb fuck who chose not to vaccinate their kids, BUT I GUESS THAT’S NEITHER HERE NOR THERE.
Anyway, Rossio made the original Tweet after TV writer Julie Benson put a call out for people to donate to vaccination efforts. He responded, saying that his heart goes out to the parents of “vaccine damaged children” before claiming that calling someone “anti-vax” is the equivalent to using the racist slur.
Here’s a screengrab of the original Tweet, in case it gets deleted at some point:
Those two things are very much not the same, as one of them comes from centuries of systemic oppression and violence against an entire race of people, and the other describes a group of conspiracy nuts who voluntarily endanger the lives of their own and other people’s children, but again, you probably didn’t need me to tell you that.
Predictably, Rossio was torn to pieces on Twitter:
God, this is such a good point. I remember how American founders and citizens enslaved vaccine skeptics for decades. And then, even after freeing them, the government enshrined laws to marginalize vaccine deniers and to deny them wealth and opportunity. That's just history.
— Jeffrey Grubb (@JeffGrubb) November 23, 2018
“I can’t believe the writer of Shrek is a fucking idiot,” said TV writer Dave Anthony, who may or may not have been being facetious:
I can’t believe the writer of Shrek is a fucking idiot.
— Dave Anthony: "Vote for Rancid Ham 2020" (@daveanthony) November 23, 2018
Even Dictionary.com got in on the act:
The n-word is so profoundly offensive that a euphemism has developed for those occasions when the word itself must be discussed.
The same cannot be said for the term "anti-vax." https://t.co/RF7rdpMx8P
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) November 24, 2018
Over the next few hours, Rossio lashed out at his critics, telling Julie Benson:
“Do you realize that you are using the equivalent of the ‘n-word’ in promoting memes that tag people as ‘anti-vax?’ Do you realize that the same collectivist stereotyping lies behind belittling any group with a label? Do you have no feelings for vaccine damaged kids and parents?”
Many, including Benson herself, took the moment as an opportunity to promote groups like UNICEF, who take donations to provide vaccinations for diseases like measles, malaria and polio, so if there’s a silver lining to any of this, I guess it’s that.
— Julie Benson (@TheJulieBenson) November 23, 2018
So that’s that; another one of your childhood faves bites the dust, I guess.Image: Getty Images / Jesse Grant / Dreamworks