This story originally aired on Oct. 14, 2018.
Craig Egan, who lives in Tacoma, stumbled into an obsession kind of by accident. It happened on FaceBook.
“A friend of mine posted some graph that had an anti-vax slant to it. At that point I had no idea that this was a thing,” Craig remembers.
"Anti-vax," as in people who believe that vaccinations are harmful and oppose giving them to kids. The thought of not vaccinating children in anathema to Craig. In online, anti-vaccination forums, Craig poked and prodded people who believe that vaccinating their children would harm them in some way. He initially did this by visiting anti-vaccination discussion groups.
“I was very polite. I said, hey I don't agree with this. Can we have a conversation? I asked a few questions and I immediately was banned from the page,” said Craig.
The people he’s needling have retaliated. They’ve complained of harassment to the FBI and have published Craig’s personal information online. Then, last summer, something happened that jolted Craig Egan’s online activism into real life.
There was a new movie playing In Tacoma, at the neighborhood theater about six block from Craig’s home. It was a documentary called Vaxxed: From Coverup To Catastrophe.
The film’s director is Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield, is the man most identified with the discredited idea that vaccines cause autism. He was later exposed for committing fraud in his studies, and had his medical license stripped. Craig headed to the theater to protest in person.
In this story, hear how Craig Egan took his digital gripe to the real world when he decided to troll the Vaxxed documentary publicity tour. One constant through-line in Craig’s journey is that it is alway more effective to argue for the observer.