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A Disney Screenwriter Said The Term Anti-Vax "Is Equivalent To" The N-Word And People Were Pissed

“Feel free to show me otherwise, but please never come on my feed with the n word again,” another writer replied.

Last updated on November 24, 2018, at 1:07 a.m. ET

Posted on November 24, 2018, at 12:45 a.m. ET

Jesse Grant / Getty Images

Terry Rossio, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter whose work includes Shrek, and Disney hits like Aladdin and the Pirates of the Caribbean series, used the n-word Thursday on Twitter to argue against the use of vaccines, prompting a wave of criticism.

“My heart goes out to all the parents of vaccine damaged children, who have to not only endure the sadness of their loss, but also the vitriol of ill-informed and insensitive people (such as those here),” he wrote. “Anti-Vax is equivalent to calling someone a nigger and makes as little sense.”

Rossio was responding to a tweet from Erik Burnham, who had said that anti-vaxxers “made me grind my teeth.” Burnham has since deleted his original tweet.

But in a series of replies with The 100 writer Julie Benson, Rossio went on to defend his position, writing, “Do you realize that you are using the equivalent of the ‘n-word’ in promoting memes that tag people as ‘anti-vax?’”

Benson was taken aback by the comparison.

“I’m pretty open minded and ready to be proven wrong, but all the scientific research I’ve read about this topic doesn’t support that viewpoint,” she replied. “Feel free to show me otherwise, but please never come on my feed with the n word again.”

Did the guy who wrote Shrek just compare “anti-vaxxer” with the n word

“Do you realize that the same collectivist stereotyping lies behind belittling any group with a label?” Rossio shot back. “Do you have no feelings for vaccine damaged kids and parents?”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh any risks, and there is no link between vaccines and autism. Some serious diseases like polio and diphtheria are now very rare in the US because of widespread immunizations against them.

Earlier this month an outbreak of the chicken pox virus sickened dozens of kids at a North Carolina private school with one of the highest religious vaccine opt-out rates in the state. It was the largest outbreak of the virus in the state since the vaccine became available in 1995.

Rossio’s tweet prompted a wave of criticism, with more than 1,200 replies as of Friday evening.

@TerryRossio @TheJulieBenson My dude, you’re really trying to say the term Anti-Vaxer is equivalent to the n word? Was the term used to oppress people based on the color of their skin, something they couldn’t change even if they wanted to? Were people who are referred to as AV’s enslaved, beaten, hung, etc.?

@TerryRossio @erikburnham @TheJulieBenson God, this is such a good point. I remember how American founders and citizens enslaved vaccine skeptics for decades. And then, even after freeing them, the government enshrined laws to marginalize vaccine deniers and to deny them wealth and opportunity. That's just history.

@TerryRossio @erikburnham @TheJulieBenson Let's see: Black people have different color skin through no conscious action of their own. Vax conspiracists intentionally play dice with their children's lives and weaponize their kids and knowingly send them out in a potentially vulnerable community. Yeah, that's the same.

The n-word is so profoundly offensive that a euphemism has developed for those occasions when the word itself must be discussed. The same cannot be said for the term "anti-vax." https://t.co/RF7rdpMx8P

A spokesperson for Rossio didn’t immediately respond to a BuzzFeed News request for comment.

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