Brow Beat

Great, Jessica Biel Is an Anti-Vaxxer Now

Jessica Biel and husband Justin Timberlake arrive for the 70th Emmy Awards.
Bringing measles back.
Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

When actress Jessica Biel was unhappy that her squeaky-clean character on 7th Heaven was keeping her from getting more adult roles, she famously posed topless on the cover of Gear magazine, explaining in the accompanying article that she hoped that by damaging her family-friendly image, she could get herself fired. Apparently she’s now trying to photograph her way out of a contract with a tougher negotiator than 7th Heaven producer Aaron Spelling—how else to explain her decision to pose for this photograph with anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., much less spend an entire day lobbying the California State House in opposition to a bill designed to crack down on medical exemptions from vaccination?

In 2015, In Touch reported that Biel and her husband, pop star Justin Timberlake, were not planning to vaccinate their son because Biel “feels that vaccination could cause complications.” She didn’t comment on the reports at the time, and has not yet commented on her lobbying trip, but Kennedy explained to People that Biel was interested in the issue because “she has friends who have been vaccine-injured who would be forced to leave the state.”

There is no link between vaccines and autism, and communities with high rates of unvaccinated children have recently been experiencing measles outbreaks. It’s important to frame discussions with anti-vaccine advocates in terms of values instead of facts, so anyone interviewing Biel about her upcoming Facebook Watch series Limetown or Timberlake about whatever he gets up to now that his tour is over might want to check out this World Health Organization guide with practical tips about talking to vaccine deniers in public.