Jim Carrey Apologizes for Posting Photo of Autistic Boy

His apology came after an extended Twitter rant on autism and vaccines.

ByLuchina Fisher
July 03, 2015, 12:59 PM
PHOTO: Jim Carrey attends LACMA's 50th anniversary gala at LACMA on April 18, 2015 in Los Angeles.
Jim Carrey attends LACMA's 50th anniversary gala at LACMA on April 18, 2015 in Los Angeles.
Getty Images

— -- Jim Carrey has apologized to the family of a young autistic child after posting pictures of the boy without their permission during an extended Twitter rant about California's new vaccine legislation.

The "Truman Show" star tweeted his mea culpa Thursday night, apologizing to the family of Alex Echols of Eugene, Oregon.

I'd like to apologize to the Echols family and others for posting a pic of their kids w/o permission.I didn't mean to cause them distress.

— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) July 3, 2015

It all began Tuesday, when the 53-year-old actor and comedian went on a tirade about California's new law that eliminates vaccine exemptions for personal or religious reasons.

California Gov says yes to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum in manditory vaccines. This corporate fascist must be stopped.

— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) July 1, 2015

Although the scientific consensus is that vaccines do not cause autism and well-known autism advocacy group, Autism Speaks, has been urging parents to vaccinate their children, Carrey remains part of a group of people who feel the ingredients in vaccines are potentially harmful.

I am not anti-vaccine. I am anti-thimerosal, anti-mercury. They have taken some of the mercury laden thimerosal out of vaccines. NOT ALL!

— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) July 1, 2015

In one of his tweets Wednesday, Carrey wrote, "A trillion dollars buys a lot of expert opinions. Will it buy you? TOXIN FREE VACCINES, A REASONABLE REQUEST!" and attached photos of distressed-looking children, including one boy crying with his arms behind his head.

That boy turned out to be Alex Echols, and his family was not at all happy to see it included in Carrey's anti-vaccine rant.

The boy's mother, Karen Echols, and aunt, Elizabeth Welch, responded on social media after seeing Alex's photo.

@JimCarrey Please remove this photo of my son. You do not have permission to use his image.

— Karen Echols (@karen_echols) July 2, 2015

Posting a copy of Carrey's tweet on Instagram, Welch explained that although Alex does have autism, he was diagnosed with it before receiving any vaccinations. Alex was born with tuberous sclerosis or TSC, she said, which can cause benign tumors to grow all over the body, including the brain. Many children with TSC have autism.

"I'm very disgusted and sickened that a celebrity would use a photo like this that was used in the first place to spread awareness of Tuberous Sclerosis to mock him and and my sister for vaccinations," Welch wrote on Instagram. "Even if that was not his intended outcome, it is what happened. Please spread this, and let's try to get this tweet removed."

Carrey did remove Alex's picture and apologized, which was noted by the boy's mother.

@JimCarrey we appreciate the apology. If you feel so inclined, a shout out for tuberous sclerosis awareness would be awesome! #IAMTSC

— Karen Echols (@karen_echols) July 3, 2015

In a way, the actor did bring attention to tuberous sclerosis, even if that wasn't his intention.

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