A private university has been criticised after Andrew Wakefield, the disgraced doctor who sparked one of the biggest public health controversies in British medical history, was invited to speak, it emerged on Thursday.
During a question-and-answer session Mr Wakefield was asked about Fiona Pettit O’Leary, an Irish woman with Asperger’s syndrome who founded the organisation Autistic Rights Together and has criticised Vaxxed.
“I’ve heard her name,” he replied. “I really know nothing about her. I’ve heard that she herself may be on the autism spectrum, is self-reported, and if that is the case my heart goes out to her. I’m certainly not going to go on the attack. It’s unfortunate. It’s extremely unfortunate.”
Mrs O’Leary told The Times that she had been belittled and patronised by the remarks. She also castigated Regent’s University for not carrying out due diligence on the event.
“I was humiliated last night,” she said. “I am on the autistic spectrum and I couldn’t believe it. I’ve seen the anti-vaccine movement pull some stunts, but this is on a new level.”
A university spokesman said that it had not been told about the nature of the event and had severed links with the CHE.
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