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Meryl Dorey is threatened? In her own mind, perhaps.

April 20, 2012

Meryl Dorey from the Australian Vaccination Network made the following claim, related to her appearance at a health liefest over the last few days:

On the funny side (perhaps funny is not the right word?), we were again forced to hire a security guard for the event because of the emails and phone calls from our 'friends' at the Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN who just can't stand to see public debate on this issue and have to act in a threatening manner towards innocent third parties who are simply providing a venue for us.

These contacts are so abnormal and frightening to these venues that they have no option but to request extra security be provided at our expense. The security guard was lovely and had to laugh when he saw us – but he wasn't hired because of any threat we provided – a bunch of mums and dad – many with young babies or pregnant. Instead, it was the threat of that violent group of harassers – Stop the AVN – that necessitated their hiring.

A couple of things for those who came in late – this is not the first time Ms Dorey has claimed that she has been threatened by members of Australian Skeptics and Stop the AVN. She even managed to have security guards at an appearance in the New South Wales Supreme Court, and I can assure you that if we are ever going to harass her it won't be anywhere where a judge can lock us up for contempt.

So here are the facts – nobody from Australian Skeptics made any threats or tried to stop her appearing. To say so is a lie. Nobody involved with the group Stop the Australian Vaccination Network made any threats. In fact, Stop the AVN doesn't even exist as any type of formal organisation, it's just a bunch of people on Facebook.

This is not the first time Ms Dorey has lied about skeptics at a conference. In 2003 I attended an AVN seminar with a friend. We sat in the middle of the room, my friend asked a question in the Q&A and we left after the meeting was closed. Ms Dorey reported twenty-four hours later that I had been sitting in the front row with a group and we had all walked out half way through the proceedings. You might think she was just mistaken but an AVN committee member told me that she had pointed me out to Ms Dorey during the night. When she told her followers that I had left early she knew that this was not true. We call that sort of statement "a lie".

I'd probably be only half as pissed off at Dorey as I am over these claims of threats if I hadn't been in a small press conference room with Ayaan Hirsi Ali at the weekend and seen the two gorillas who were making sure they were never more than a couple of metres from her at all times. When one of the twelve or so journalists in the room approached her for an autograph the bodyguards moved in reflexively to make sure that no harm came to her. Hirsi Ali lives her life like this because she is the subject of real threats.

Dorey whining about imaginary threats like people complaining to venues or calling her names makes me sick when I see what it really means to be threatened.

See the work of the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Foundation here.

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