Actress-model Jenny McCarthy, an outspoken opponent of vaccines, tried to get a hashtag on Twitter to go viral and it backfired on her as science and public health lovers hijacked it.
Here's what she asked in the tweet that started the onslaught:
What is the most important personality trait you look for in a mate? Reply using #JennyAsks- Jenny McCarthy (@JennyMcCarthy) March 13, 2014
It didn't take long before responses like these started to pour in over the last month:
I like long walks on the beach, candle lit dinners, and a lack of polio. #JennyAsks- Danny Porter (@Danny_Boy1985) March 23, 2014
#JennyAsks what I want in a mate? Someone who understands that Botox is a toxin and a vaccine is not- Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) March 18, 2014
Ideal mate accepts scientific consensus & considers the elderly, infants & immune compromised b4 spreading baseless hysteria. #JennyAsks- Kevin Folta (@kevinfolta) March 16, 2014
I like Piña Coladas and not getting caught in a Polio outbreak. #JennyAsks- Eden Schulz (@edenwillow) March 18, 2014
Jokes aside, others tweeted links to stories or information on preventable disease outbreaks that can be tied to a lack of vaccinating:
Cases of measles tripled in 2013, mostly due to anti-vaccination propaganda. Thanks, Jenny McCarthy, Thanks for the measles, #JennyAsks- IcarusBeGood (@purlino) April 8, 2014
And that's how the internet turned her self-promotional attempt into a teachable moment.