Anti-vaccination Seminars in 2015 by Stephanie Messenger
SEMINAR TOUR CANCELLED
28 January 2015
Dr Sherri Tenpenny and Stephanie Messenger issued this joint release advising that the seminar tour has been cancelled. Taking a leaf directly out of the Meryl Dorey playbook they are claiming the cancellation is due to 'threats'. The bomb threat mentioned in the release was made by a supporter of the seminars in regard to a venue cancelling the talk, not hosting it, and Tenpenny and Messenger are fully aware of this fact.
As to their lying about other 'threats', I suspect Tenpenny and Messenger are simply trying to save face with their supporters because the truth of the matter - Australia has had enough of anti-vaccination bullshit - is a very bitter pill for them to swallow.
On the subject of money, I note that Messenger is pleading for donations and suggesting that people not ask for
ticket refunds to help cover expenses incurred so far.
Personally, I'd be waiting to see a public statement from Stephanie Messenger confirming whether or not she had taken out insurance for the seminar tour before handing over any money.
I'd like to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of everyone who campaigned against this tour going ahead in the interests of public health and evidence-based medicine. A special shout-out goes to Matthew Berryman and Peter Tierney. Congratulations to all.
The Terror Australis TourAs expected, Stephanie Messenger has stepped up to fill the void after the (as good as) demise of the AVSN. In March 2015 her Terror Australis tour kicks off with six anti-vaccination seminars being held in four Australian states featuring special guest speaker, Dr Sherri Tenpenny (USA).
Birth, Baby and Beyond seminars
Three seminars entitled "Birth, Baby and Beyond" are scheduled for Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. Dr Isaac Golden is another featured speaker on the subject of homeoprophylaxis which has very recently been in the news after Homeopathy Plus! and Fran Sheffield copped a walloping in the Federal Court.
The Sydney seminar also features Norma Erickson, President of SaneVax Inc (USA). That's quite a line-up of anti-vaccination propagandists.
Other topics advertised for the "Birth, Baby and Beyond" seminar include questioning the safety of vaccines during pregnancy, vitamin K injections at birth, the hepatitis B vaccine, and risks of vaccination. Another topic is the benefits of vaccination but I imagine all it will involve is Tenpenny staring blankly ahead whilst the audience rolls around laughing in the aisles if her recent statements about vaccination are our guide. [ed note: if you can't be bothered reading the link, Tenpenny's view is VACCINES DO NOT WORK.]
These seminars are accompanied by a dinner night where Sherri Tenpenny & Isaac Golden will be speaking again. If you are so inclined you can pay $200 for the privilege of sitting at Tenpenny's table or $150 at Golden's or Erickson's table.
Raising Healthy Children Naturally seminars
Three other seminars entitled "Raising Healthy Children Naturally" are scheduled for Adelaide, Gold Coast and Sutherland Shire, with a dinner night also being held for Adelaide and Gold Coast.
All six seminars advertise there will be other speakers but fails to name them. For dates and venues please refer to my HLN - Seminars page.
Update 1 Jan 2015:
If you have any doubts about Dr Sherri Tenpenny or Norma Erickson (SaneVax) being vehemently irrational about vaccination then this should dispel them:
Update 10 Jan 2015:
In defence of the negative press she was receiving in Australia, Tenpenny published this statement (dated January 2015) and in doing so confirmed her sole anti-vaccination agenda. Excerpts:
What am I going to do?
Several journalists have ask if I was going to reconsider 'my message' and change what I say about vaccines. I said,
"No. Just because a lion roars doesn't mean you leave the savannah. I'm doing this for the next generation of children...we need as many healthy, uncontaminated children as possible on the planet."
Support those who want to invite me into the Country to talk about the problems with vaccines - the rest of the story - that most people never get to hear.
Responsibility and Public HealthThe above seminars pose a very real threat to public health. This recent BBC article Whooping cough proteins evolving unusually fast (27 Dec 2014), stresses the importance of immunising pregnant women against whooping cough (pertussis) to help protect their newborns and that the vaccine is still the best defence we have against the disease. It also asks the question of whether 2015 will see another rise in pertussis given its cyclical nature. We've just seen a number of babies in Australia die from pertussis in the previous cycle so the very last thing we need right now is anti-vaccination propaganda scaring people away from the vaccine as we enter another upward swing.
From The Australian Immunisation Handbook handbook:
"The prevention of severe pertussis morbidity and deaths, particularly in infants < 3 months of age, is a major goal in Australia and similar countries. Two vaccination strategies have been considered to achieve this - indirect protection from immunisation of close adult contacts of newborn infants, known as the 'cocoon' strategy... and direct protection from immunisation of the mother during the last trimester of pregnancy... "
The act of promoting homeoprophylaxis (the practice of using water - just water - to prevent vaccine preventable diseases) should be the dictionary definition of irresponsibility. In conjunction with anti-vaccine scaremongering it starts to look more like criminal negligence, especially when the promoters and scaremongerers hold formal health qualifications.
I assume that both Dr Sherri Tenpenny and Norma Erickson will be receiving remuneration for
their seminar appearances. Given this, I encourage you to contact the Australian Dept of
Immigration and Border Protection with a request that the relevant visa applications for
Sherri Tenpenny and Norma Erickson be denied in the interest of public health. I'd also
send a copy to both federal and state health ministers and shadow ministers.
- Minister for Immigration and Border Protection: Peter Dutton
- Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection: Richard Marles
- Minister for Health: Sussan Ley MP
- Shadow Minister for Health: Catherine.King.MP@aph.gov.au
- Premier: Daniel Andrews
- Minister for Health: Jill Hennessy
- Shadow Minister for Health: Mary Wooldridge
VenuesAs of 9 Jan 2015, four seminar and three dinner events have been cancelled by the venues.
You may also wish to contact the seminar venues requesting that they withdraw from hosting the event in the interest of public health.
Contact details are available from ReasonableHank's blog post 2015 anti-vaccine tour of Australia - the Tenpenny caravan of hurt.
Dates for these seminars can be viewed on my HLN-Seminars page.
Update 7 Jan 2015
Sutherland Shire: Raising Healthy Children Naturally seminar, to be held 15 March 2015.
The venue hosting this event, Kareela Golf Club, announced that it has pulled out of hosting this event.
Refer to ABC News article Sherri Tenpenny: Sydney venue cancels seminar of US anti-vaccination campaigner.
Update 8 Jan 2015
Sydney: Birth, Baby and Beyond seminar, to be held 14 March 2015.
The venue hosting this event, Concord Function Centre, announced that it has pulled out of hosting both the seminar and dinner event.
Melbourne: Birth, Baby and Beyond seminar, to be held 1 March 2015.
The venue hosting the seminar, Bayview Eden Melbourne hotel, appears to be no longer hosting this event.
The venue hosting the dinner event, Amora Hotel Riverwalk, announced it has cancelled the event.
Update 9 Jan 2015
Gold Coast: Raising Healthy Children Naturally seminar, to be held 11 March 2015.
The venue hosting this event, Quality Hotel Mermaid Waters, announced that is has pulled out of hosting both the seminar and dinner event.
Two venues have confirmed that Stephanie Messenger's registered charity, Get Rid of SIDS Project
Inc, was 'used' to book the venues, with no mention at all of the seminar's major theme,
Please refer to:
ABC News Sherri Tenpenny: Sydney venue cancels seminar of US anti-vaccination campaigner, and
Reasonablehank Venues confirm being misled by anti-vaccine Messenger - Tenpenny tour
Update 14 Jan 2015
Currently two venue hosts remain, Michael's Oriental Restaurant and Function Centre (Brisbane) and Rydges South Park Hotel (Adelaide). I recommend you read Reasonablehank's blog post Tenpenny: Letter to Rydges South Park Hotel Adelaide, and Michael's Oriental Restaurant Brisbane. This post also covers the free speech and freedom of expression arguments.
Brisbane events cancelled:
Michael's Oriental Restaurant announced that the organiser cancelled both the seminar and dinner events. Please read Reasonablehank's post Another venue cancels Tenpenny anti-vaccine seminar and
Michael's Oriental Restaurant announcement of event cancellations.
Update 19 Jan 2015
The final venue, Rydges South Park hotel in Adelaide, is no longer hosting the Adelaide seminar or dinner events. Rydges has not issued a statement at this time.
That was the last of the venues. All original venues for all the seminar and dinner events are no longer hosting them. Stephanie Messenger stated in an interview with Guardian Australia (19 Jan 2015) that the events will be going ahead, with a Facebook comment stating that the new venues will be kept secret until the last minute.
Organisers[ed note: this section revised 16 Jan 2015]
and please note that
Both advertised organisers are controlled by Stephanie Messenger.
Get Rid of SIDS Project Inc
The Get Rid of SIDS Project Inc is a Queensland-based charitable association founded by Stephanie Messenger. According to its regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), Get Rid of SIDS Project is 9 months late in submitting its annual return. And please note that this charitable association which is organising these anti-vaccination seminars around Australia, is also a Deductible Gift Recipient meaning that donations to it are tax-deductible.
Update 21 Jan 2015:
The ACNC register now shows that Get Rid of SIDS Project has lodged its 2013 annual return.
The GanKinMan Foundation does not exist. It is not even a registered business name with ASIC, which is a necessary first step for all charities, incorporated associations and trading names for any entity.
It's domain name, gankinman.com was only first registered on 3 November 2014.
What I can tell you about the GanKinMan Foundation is that it is run by Stephanie Messenger.
The contact phone number (with no contact name) shown on the GanKinMan Foundation website is the same phone number that appears in WHOIS data for a domain name and shows it belongs to Eclectic Services (QLD) Pty Ltd, the business owned and operated by Stephanie Messenger's husband, Leslie Bailey.
A health website forum has a post from a supporter of Stephanie Messenger which contains the
text of an email sent by Messenger around 2 December 2014 plus the flyer (word document) that
was attached to the email.
The flyer was advertising a range of goods for sale (including tickets to the seminars) from Messenger's other unincorporated groups "Healthy Lifestyles Naturally" and "Vaccination Awareness & Information Service".
NOTE: whilst Messenger runs these two other groups, ASIC shows that both are Queensland registered business names by her husband, Leslie Bailey. Neither of these groups is incorporated and therefore have no legal status.
To order goods the flyer instructs consumers to:
email your desired order to firstname.lastname@example.org - You will be emailed the postal charges (or you may pick up in Cleveland if you prefer).
You can then do an E.F.T. to BSB 032-563 A/C # 371362 Name on Account: GanKinMan Foundation. Your order will be shipped within one week. Seminar E-tickets will be emailed to you.
So there we have it.
Payments for goods (including the seminars) on behalf of Messenger's "Healthy Lifestyles Naturally" and "Vaccination Awareness & Information Service" are to be deposited into a bank account in the name of "GanKinMan Foundation".
In addition to this, an email received from the domain name of gankinman.com originated in Brisbane (QLD), a From: field in the header shows the term "StephaniePC" and its attached pdf document shows the the author as "Stephanie" in the document properties.
I must stress that no published information from GanKinMan Foundation - its website, seminar advertising or emails - provides the name of any individual.
To further confuse consumers, the GanKinMan Foundation facebook page made a series of posts on 3 January 2015 advising that:
"We have teamed up with the Get Rid of SIDS Project, Inc. - a registered charity doing research and education about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome - Come along to support the charity and cause, and hear what the team have been up to lately."
Payments for SeminarsA PayPal receipt for the purchase of a seminar ticket through Eventbrite shows the merchant as "Healthy Naturally" with an email address of email@example.com.
This email address belongs to Stephanie Messenger. There is no registered name for "Healthy Naturally". Unless you were already familiar with Messenger, it is not immediately obvious that Stephanie Messenger is involved.
[update 7 Jan] The email order summary from Eventbrite shows the contact organiser as
firstname.lastname@example.org and advises payment was sent to
The credit card statement shows payment was made to "Paypal *Stephanie".
As mentioned previously, payment for tickets ordered directly from Stephanie Messenger is to be made to a bank account in the name of GanKinMan Foundation.
An email in regard to changes to a ticket purchase originated from the gankinman.com domain and did not provide any contact names.
[update 16 Jan] The refund for a ticket purchase from PayPal shows the refund was issued from "Stephanie Messenger".
There are now a number of major concerns for consumers in how Stephanie Messenger is selling and advertising goods for sale:
- Messenger is trading under the unregistered business name of "GanKinMan
Foundation". As far as I know, even a name used for a personal hobby must be registered
with ASIC if it's trading
(Non-registration aside, the size and scope of the seminars and dinners might stretch the ATO's definition of a hobby);
- Messenger is using a registered charity (Get Rid of SIDS Project Inc) in an apparent attempt to lend legitimacy to an unregistered and unincorporated body;
- Use of the word "Foundation" is potentially misleading because use of the word "may create a public perception of substance, stability and integrity" even for a legitimate registered charity (NSW Fair Trading);
- No GanKinMan Foundation publications (website, emails, advertising) provides the names of any individuals involved with it;
- Messenger is intentionally hiding her association with GanKinMan Foundation in regard to the seminars;
- Messenger is promoting her seminars as being run by a legitimate charity and a group 'masquerading' as a charity without advising at any stage that payments will be made into a bank account operated by herself and not in the name of the advertised organisers (with the exception of the abovementioned flyer).
In short, Messenger appears to be trading under an unregistered business name, misleading consumers as to who/what is in receipt of the funds, is using a registered charity to lend legitimacy to a misleadingly named non-entity, and is using a registered charity to sell goods where payment is made to account/s operated by herself and not the charity.
The size and scope of the seminars may generate substantial income if well-attended. For example, a couple attending the Sydney seminar plus dinner at the best table will have to pay up to $612. Tickets for the Birth, Baby and Beyond seminars alone range from $80 to $100 and tickets for the Raising Healthy Children Naturally are $39. Tickets for the dinners range from $100 to $200.
Consumers have a right to know exactly where their money is going and especially when charities are being used to promote and sell goods for sale.
Media AttentionI highly recommend that you check out Reasonablehank's post Getting to know Sherri Tenpenny - a guide for more information on Tenpenny and a list of media articles.
3 Feb 2015:
NT News School threat a shot in the arm for pro-vaccine lobby
29 Jan 2015:
The Sydney Morning Herald View from the Street - Science 1, dangerous nonsense 0
News Ltd Anti-vaccine speaker Dr Sherri Tenpenny cancels national tour
The Guardian Anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny cancels Australian tour
Daily Mail Online Controversial US anti-vaccination campaigner cancels her Australian tour for the sake of her own personal safety
Business Insider An Anti-Vaccination Campaigner Has Cancelled Her Tour Of Australia After Receiving Threats
The Sydney Morning Herald US anti-vaccination campaigner Dr Sherri Tenpenny cancels tour of Australia
ABC News Anti-vaccination campaigner Dr Sherri Tenpenny cancels Australia tour amid security concerns
SBS US anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny cancels Australian tour
Mamamia Sherri Tenpenny's anti-vaccination seminars flounder as venues pull out
23 Jan 2015:
SBS Anti-vaccine campaigner Sherri Tenpenny cancels Australian talk
20 Jan 2015:
The Canberra Times Anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny's tour in jeopardy after every venue pulls out of hosting her seminars
19 Jan 2015:
The Guardian Anti-vaccination seminar venues all pull out - but tour 'will go ahead'
16 Jan 2015:
InDaily Richardson: Je suis anti-vaxxer?
Gold Coast Bulletin Gold Coast mum warns on vaccinations after little Bree almost killed by whooping cough
12 Jan 2015:
7 News [video] A social media campaign has managed to stop...
11 Jan 2015:
Sunrise [video] Health experts urge parents to vaccinate kids
The Chronicle Anti-vaccination campaigner's Aussie tour in ruins
The Sydney Morning Herald Anti-vaccination views are misguided - but not illegal
10 Jan 2015:
WAToday Anti-vaccination advocate's tour in jeopardy after most venues cancel
9 Jan 2015:
The Guardian Anti-vaccination campaigner compares critics to Charlie Hebdo attackers
8 Jan 2015:
The Today Show [video] Controversial anti-vaccination advocate...
The Australian Let anti-vax campaigner speak:rights group
Yahoo!7 News More venues cancel anti-vax seminars
The Sydney Morning Herald Venues cancel events featuring US anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny
The Sydney Morning Herald Sherri Tenpenny: US anti-vaccination campaigner's Sydney and Melbourne shows cancelled
The Guardian Anti-vaxxers: so friendless that free speech is enough to defeat them
SBS Sydney venue cancels talk by anti-vaccine activist Sherri Tenpenny
The Guardian Sydney venue cancels seminar by US anti-vaccine activist Sherri Tenpenny
The Sydney Morning Herald Anti-vaccination extremist's right to visit Australia is question facing govt
The Daily Telegraph Lives of our kids at risk until anti-jab myth dies
7 Jan 2015:
Daily Mail Online Sydney club refuses to host seminar by American osteopath who doesn't believe in vaccinating children... after outraged parents complained about her 'vile lies'
The Age A shot in the arm for free speech
ABC News [video] Sydney venue cancels seminar of US anti-vaccination campaigner
ABC News Sherri Tenpenny: Sydney venue cancels seminar of US anti-vaccination campaigner
SBS World News [video] A controversial American anti-vaccination campaigner may be prevented from entering Australia
ABC News Sherri Tenpenny: Who is the controversial anti-vaccination campaigner planning to visit Australia?
The Guardian 7:30 falls into vax wars
Queensland Health Queensland Health's response to anti-vaccination discussions
The Age Doctors want to bar anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny
The New Zealand Herald 'Deny her a visa' - Australian outrage over anti-vaccination activist's speaking tour
4ZZZ Immigration minister approached by pro-vaccination groups to deny visa
6 Jan 2015:
ABC News Calls to deny visa to American anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny to speak in Australia
The Project [video] Fighting Misinformation
The Guardian Australia's anti-vaccine movement in decline as membership drops off
Herald Sun Health Minister urges organisers to cancel event featuring anti-vaccination activist Sherry Tenpenny
Times Live No vaccine for Mandela-itis
ABC PM [audio with transcript] Controversial anti-vaccination campaigner to visit Australia
SBS Calls for government to deny visa to US anti-vaccine activist
The Sydney Morning Herald Doctors want to bar anti-vaccination campaigner
Sunshine Coast Daily Push to ban anti-vaccination campaigner from Aussie tour
The Sydney Morning Herald ABC's 7.30 under fire over anti-vaccination campaigner James Maskell
5 Jan 2015:
ABC 7:30 Report [video with transcript] Anti-vaccination lobby to blame for US return of preventable diseases say doctors
The Guardian US anti-vaccine activist Dr Sherri Tenpenny plans Australian tour in March
ABC News 24 [video] Interview with Julie Leask
3AW [audio] Victoria's Health Minister on anti-vaccine movement
News Ltd Uproar as US anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny announces trip to Australia
Daily Mail Online Parents' outrage over American doctor's child health seminars
Mamamia This woman is a danger to children. And she's coming to Australia
4 Jan 2015:
The Sunday Telegraph Pro-vaccine lobby fight to stop US anti-vaccination campaigner Sherri Tenpenny lecturing in Australia
Posted: 29 Dec 2014
Last update: 3 Feb 2015