You would remember Stephanie Messenger as the anti-vaccination fundamentalist who wrote the awful child-hating book for children, Melanie’s Marvelous Measles. You would also remember her as the organiser of the recent anti-vaccine tour of Australia which starred Sherri Tenpenny. The tour came unstuck when it became apparent that the Australian community wanted their children alive, as opposed to the deceased condition in which Tenpenny’s extremist beliefs would otherwise have left them. All of the venues pulled out once they realised just what sort of a hate-fest was almost upon them.
One of the corollaries of the exuberant gamble played by Messenger was that she had now popped her head above the parapet, and with it her SIDS charity. As I wrote a couple of months ago:
Get Rid of SIDS is Messenger’s registered health promotion charity. It has Deductible Gift Recipient status. Along with Messenger’s other organisation, GanKinMan Foundation (more below), GRoS was listed as the organiser of the recent anti-vaccine seminars which feature anti-vaccine fundamentalist Sherri Tenpenny as the lead speaker. Read that out aloud again: a registered health promotion charity organised an anti-vaccine tour. The basis for Messenger’s GRoS charity is the promotion of the [dubious] Toxic Gas Theory, by Dr Sprott.
And Messenger was clear about her charity’s involvement in the anti-vaccine tour, including claims of “research” and “education”, as well as trading on the reputation that a “registered charity” was the organiser. In this image of the Concord Eventbrite booking page we see a “charity” being linked with the names of Sherri Tenpenny, Isaac Golden, and Norma Erickson:
So you can see why the anti-vaccine tour garnered such outrage. Not only were they a threat to public health and safety, they displayed the ethics of a rat in carrying out their attempted ruse under the guise of charitable legitimacy.
Remember that this charity also made a list of accusations against critics. Critics were accused of being terrorists like those who carried out the Sydney and Paris atrocities, who were threatening violence upon venue owners. The only violence threatened was by one of Messenger’s and Tenpenny’s supporters, Frank Vazquez, of Adelaide: he made bomb and arson threats against two separate venues who were likely to cancel.
I’d like to claim that Messenger’s behaviour probably added to her forthcoming charitable regulatory woes, but, in reality, the complaints which were submitted to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission were beyond reproach. The long history Messenger laid down, linking her charity with her anti-vaccine seminars, as well as the zany claims surrounding SIDS, and her distribution of other bizarre for-profit products, like mattress covers and negative ion sanitary pads, was enough to sink any hope she had of claiming to be doing public health any legitimate service. It was all collated. It was all submitted. She was her own undoing. For a broader outline of the above and all of Messenger’s organisations and activities see, The Church of Conscious Living – another Stephanie Messenger Anti-vaccine Enterprise.
The only saving grace Messenger had in my eyes was that in 2013 she made noises which sounded like she had back-tracked from her previous vaccines-cause-SIDS lies. But, that was obviously a long time ago. Like a dog and its vomit, an anti-vaccinationist always returns to its lies. From February 2015 (there are more, but, this will do):
So, ultimately, Messenger was irredeemable.
And that’s why today’s news is so welcome. An anti-vaccinationist who used the legitimacy of a charity for so many years had the charitable status and the Deductible Gift Recipient status revoked on April 1 2015. Savour the word… r e v o k e d:
I want to acknowledge the work of Sam Johnston and David Metcalf for a surgical and concise approach to all of the above. And I want to give extra special thanks to Christine Bayne who operates Diluted Thinking, that repository of the results of hard work.
Most of all I want to thank Stephanie Messenger for her tireless dedication to the art of bringing down Stephanie Messenger.
Here is Channel 7 on the good news:
Update April 8 2015
Reproduced here in full is the freshly minted ACNC media release:
8 April 2015 No.119
‘Get Rid of Sids’ charity status revoked
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has made a decision to revoke the registration of Get Rid of Sids Project Inc (ABN 63 260 843 015) following a review into the organisation’s operations and activities.
The entity is an association incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (Qld) which had deductible gift recipient status as well as tax concessions since it was established in 2010.
It had its charity status revoked by the ACNC and this decision is effective from 01 April 2015. The charity has 60 days to lodge an objection to this decision.
Acting Commissioner David Locke said Australians donate millions of dollars to charity every year and the ACNC is tasked with regulating all registered charities.
“The ACNC is committed to protecting public trust and confidence in the sector, which includes revoking the charity status of organisations which are not operating in accordance with the ACNC Act and Regulations,” Mr Locke said.
“All charities have to be established for charitable purpose and for the benefit of the public. Where concerns are raised with the ACNC about a charity’s operations, we take these seriously and look into all of the circumstances. We will act firmly and quickly where we believe organisations are not entitled to ongoing charity registration.
“It is important that the public can give confidently to charities on the ACNC Charity Register.
“The ACNC has made a decision to revoke Get Rid of Sids Project’s registration as a charity under 35-10 (1) (a) of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (ACNC Act),” Mr Locke said.
The ACNC is prevented by secrecy provisions in the ACNC Act from disclosing the details of any case. Under the ACNC Act, decisions to use formal powers must usually be published on the ACNC Charity Register.
The ACNC’s regulatory approach, clearly sets out how the ACNC’s use its powers to regulate. Any charity which has its entitlement to registration under review and facing potential revocation is served with a notice to show cause of why they should not be revoked and given 28 days to respond. When a decision to revoke is made, charities are informed and provided with the reasons for revocation via both phone and mail. The charities then have 60 days to lodge an objection to this decision.
ACNC Media Contact: