It’s been a rough 24 hours for Jessica Biel, who responded to anti-vaxxer claims after she was photographed with politician and activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at the California State Legislature building in Sacramento. Biel was there to discuss the proposed bill #SB-276, which is designed to take action against doctors who provide false medical exemptions. Biel’s association with Kennedy Jr. in relation to the bill quickly set off a firestorm on social media about her beliefs on vaccinating kids — especially her own, 4-year-old son Silas, with husband Justin Timberlake,
Things kicked off on Wednesday when Kennedy Jr., a known anti-vaxxer who has frequently posted about te issue on social media, shared photos of him and Biel together to fight against #SB-276. The bill, according to Us Weekly, was originally proposed by Dr. Richard Pan, “a California senator and pediatrician, as a way to observe how many children have been exempted from vaccinations amid a spike seen statewide.” At the time Kennedy posted the photo, it was unclear why Biel was there and what her official stance was on what the bill was proposing. Because of this, the assumption was made by the public that she was against vaccinations as a whole, with plenty of jokes and observations made about at Biel’s expense about her allegedly being an anti-vaxxer.
So, Biel decided to get on Instagram early on Thursday morning to clarify that she, as a mom herself, is not against vaccinations or vaccinating kids. In a lengthy Instagram response, she wrote, “This week I went to Sacramento to talk to legislators in California about a proposed bill. I am not against vaccinations — I support children getting vaccinations and I also support families having the right to make educated medical decisions for their children alongside their physicians.”
She continued with clarification about her motives to go to the State Legislature building, writing, “My concern with #SB277 is solely regarding medical exemptions. My dearest friends have a child with a medical condition that warrants an exemption from vaccinations, and should this bill pass, it would greatly affect their family’s ability to care for their child in this state. That’s why I spoke to legislators and argued against this bill. Not because I don’t believe in vaccinations, but because I believe in giving doctors and the families they treat the ability to decide what’s best for their patients and the ability to provide that treatment. I encourage everyone to read more on this issue and to learn about the intricacies of #SB277. Thank you to everyone who met with me this week to engage in this important discussion!”
Biel hasn’t spoken about being for or against vaccinating kids in the past, hence all of the immediate hullabaloo surrounding the photos Kennedy, Jr. posted.