Elle Macpherson is reportedly dating disgraced ex-doctor Andrew Wakefield, who founded the anti-vaccine movement

Elise Solé

Model Elle Macpherson has a controversial new boyfriend: disgraced ex-doctor Andrew Wakefield, who pioneered the anti-vaccine movement based on the belief that vaccines cause autism

Macpherson, 54, aka “The Body,” was photographed Friday in Miami kissing Wakefield, 61, at an organic market, one year after her divorce from billionaire Jeffrey Soffer. According to the Daily Mail, the pair has been dating since late 2017 after meeting in Orlando, Fla. 

Elle Macpherson was photographed kissing ex-doctor Andrew Wakefield, who lost his medical license due to false claims that the MMR vaccine causes autism. (Photo: Splash News)

Wakefield’s name carries weight: He’s a British former doctor who falsified data in a 1998 study, published in the journal the Lancet, that suggested the MMR vaccine (which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella) may cause pervasive developmental disorder that falls on the autism spectrum, according to the Mayo Clinic.

There were serious problems with Wakefield’s research: It included an extremely small sample size of 12 children and anecdotal patient histories (which aren’t considered real evidence) and lacked a control group. Even worse: The study contained “distorted data,” as pointed out by parents of the underage subjects, and was fueled by greed. Not only did Wakefield’s study include blood samples from children he paid at his 10-year-old son’s birthday party, but he was working on his own alternative to the MMR vaccine, even filing a patent for a “safer” one-time shot, as reported by Vox. And finally, he wouldn’t replicate his findings, an important step of the scientific process that includes repeating the study to prove its legitimacy.

Elle Macpherson is reportedly dating former doctor Andrew Wakefield, a controversial anti-vaxxer. (Photo: Getty Images)

According to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, after Wakefield’s study, the medical community published refuting research to show there was “no epidemiological evidence” to support the link between autism and the MMR vaccine and pointed out that both the shot and signs of autism occur around the same time in childhood. However, it was too late. The media publicized Wakefield’s work, and parents became fearful of the reported effects, which led to a severe drop in vaccination rates in countries such as England and the United States, and a rise in infectious diseases. 

In 2004, after discovering that Wakefield was paid more than half a million dollars by a law firm that planned to sue vaccine manufacturers, per CNN, the majority of his co-authors withdrew their names from the paper. But it wasn’t until 2010 that the Lancet retracted the study and Wakefield lost his U.K. medical license. That year, editor Richard Horton told the Guardian of Wakefield’s work, “It was utterly clear, without any ambiguity at all, that the statements in the paper were utterly false. I feel I was deceived.”

Wakefield, who moved to Texas after the scandal, has repeatedly defended his work and, according to Time, has said, “There are millions of children out there suffering, and the fact [is] that the vaccines cause autism.” 

Andrew Wakefield and his former wife, Carmel. (Photo: Getty Images)

There’s no record of Macpherson’s views on vaccinations; however, plenty of celebrities, from Jenny McCarthy to Alicia Silverstone and even President Trump, have all voiced concern about vaccines for various reasons, including the risk of autism.

As Jezebel noted, Wakefield’s romance could boost his platform, given Macpherson is the co-founder of WelleCo, a company that sells “clean, plant-based elixirs backed by science, driven by nature.” Per the website, “If the relationship lasts, Macpherson could be instrumental in introducing Wakefield and his ideas to a whole new world of monied and influential people — people who are, like her, concerned with the somewhat spongy and ever-more-profitable concept of ‘wellness.’”

In June, Macpherson shook the internet when she disclosed that she sometimes replaces meals with protein shakes to get “ready for my summer body.

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