Actor Gary Cole, best know for his roles as an annoying boss in the hit movie, Office Space, as well as roles in Entourage, The West Wing and recently, Veep, has long supported a deeper inquisition into the relationship between vaccines and autism. His daughter, Mary, is vaccine injured (at least according to statements the actor made back in 2004). Cole at one time pressed for more research into the vaccine / autism matter.
“If there is the slightest whisper that it might be unsafe and toxic … why not do something about it?” The actor has stated.
According to Cole, his daughter, Mary, had “a very severe reaction” to a diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis shot at 18 months. Her face swelled so much that her eyes were nearly shut. A short time later, her speech and eye contact began to regress, he said. His daughter was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder by age 11.
“I have to ask questions because of that,” he said.
The above quotes came from Cole in 2004 when Thimerosal and Mercury were at a high point regarding condemnation (source).
Today, the actor supports both The Help Group and Autism Speaks, as well as is committed to public speaking over the matter, as a way to help parents who struggle with an ASD diagnosis. But he seems to speak much less over the vaccine relationship.
According to an interview back in 2009 with People Magazine, Cole felt looking for answers earlier was best, but fell short of touching on vaccines in this instance.
“[She] didn’t process information like you or I do, and did not pick up on social cues,” he explains. His advice for others is simple:
“Seek answers, and the earlier the better.”
What this tells me is that the pressure to keep working, to keep making a living, is more compelling and more motivating than it would be to risk all that speaking out against vaccines. Robert De Niro is living proof that vaccine skepticism can be a huge burden. When De Niro attempted to speak out, he was shut down and eventually forced to rearrange his NYC film festival schedule.
His years of silence are likely his ultimate struggle and challenge. The world, as we know it, isn’t exactly opening its arms to help parents who have vaccine injured children. Cole’s career, since 2004, has been a huge success. He’s worked year after year on hit show after hit show. Speaking out about vaccines is career suicide, not just for actors, but for all of us. We must hope that someday that all changes.