You might remember last year how people who thought they were acting in the interests of the Burzynski Clinic issued quasi-legal threats to bloggers who took issue with his unproven “antineoplaston” treatments. I am specifically thinking of Marc Stephens, who contacted Andy Lewis, Peter Bowditch, and Rhys Morgan. As I understand it, Burzynski had hired Stephens to do web-optimization work, cleaning up B’s reputation (no small feat considering who was signing the checks!). Stephens apparently interpreted this as a green light to send a high school student a picture of his house, the unmistakable threat: “We know where you live.” This was when I first wrote about Burzynski, I believe.
Another Burzynski supporter (one at the same IP address as the Burzynski Patient Group) put up a website–albeit very briefly–which painted prominent skeptics…and somehow me… as pedophiles. (That’s my name in between those of two of my heroes, Simon Singh and Stephen Fry! Squee! Best. Defamation. Ever.) When it was discovered, the site was instantly taken down, but The 21st Floor has the goods.
Well, people who seem to somehow think that they represent Burzynski are at it again; this time it is his propagandist Eric Merola (@BurzynskiMovie), the guy behind the straight-to-Internet stinker Burzynski. He is currently putting together a sequel (working title: Burzynski II: This Time It’s Peer-Reviewed).
Not long ago, I received a call from one of the lawyers at my university. When I went over to see her, she handed me a letter that had been sent to the office of my university’s Chancellor. Honestly, from her description on the phone of how strange it was, I thought it was going to be something from Mabus, who had contacted my coworkers in the past. I was surprised to read that it was from the guy making the Burzynski movies. And now I share it with you:
How about that?
Let’s clarify a few things here, Eric. My “extracurricular” interest in Burzynski has nothing to do with my research and everything to do with my interest in science. My letters, articles, and blog posts that discuss Burzynski do not appear on my CV. The things I do in my spare time are no business of my employer and they respect that.
Your legal disclaimer is a joke; you are as competent a lawyer as you are a filmmaker.
The “present” we are going to give Burzynski on his birthday is a challenge to the Clinic to match the funds raised by skeptics for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The “something positive” you fear is what I have publicly called “Operation Cuddly Puppy,” a campaign designed to put reliable information about clinical trials and cancer treatments into the hands of cancer patients. I can see why a Burzynski supporter would be afraid of that.
Regarding theOTHERburzynskipatientgroup.wordpress.com, I will be delighted for you to discuss my (and others’) work there in your movie. What we offer there is an honest look at the patients who have not made it, patients whose stories are just as important as the ones you believe Burzynski gave a happy ending. I’m not prying either; the patients and their families have already shared this information with the world. Also, it has about 30 total views (well, until today!). What you seem to be opposed to is open inquiry into what goes on at the clinic.
I’ve yet to hear from the family of the patient you singled out in your email. I would, of course, give them my standard answer for patients of Burzynski: “I’m very, very sorry for your loss, and I don’t take down content. Your stories are too important.” All of which is true. In about a month, three of us working in our spare time have been able to accumulate as many (more, actually) examples of failed treatment as there are “successes” at the Burzynski Patient Group site, which actually opens up patient records to promote Burzynski. (Though I don’t hear you howling about the ethics of that!)
In a way, I guess I’m not surprised that you went to my employer. I have gotten threats from other wackdoodles before who were going to “expose me to my employer.” This is more of the same.
Eric, the interpretation of my actions that you put forward in your laughable letter are so far from the mark that I should warn you against replicating them in your movie–and now you have been notified of that. Furthermore, should you make any attempt to link my family or my employer to my online science advocacy, I will not hesitate to hire an actual lawyer and pursue you until you cry. The fact that you actively tried to hide it from me, to spread half-truths about me to my employer behind my back, is stunning evidence of your malicious motives. It’s like the type of thing trial lawyers dream of.
If you are appalled by this behavior, I encourage skeptics to contribute to the St. Jude fundraiser. We will be donating everything raised to the hospital in Burzynski’s name and then challenge the Clinic to match those funds. If he doesn’t participate, we will still be able to say it’s probably the best thing ever done for cancer research in his name!
FDA sanctioned and approved? That is what is technically known as a lie. If it was approved, this debate would not even exist: most of the problem is that Burzynski (and his incompetent shill Merola) promote the treat,ent as if it were approved when it is not. For any condition.
[…] From: Skeptical Humanities […]
Could he make himself look any more of a muppet?
Wow – that’s just idiotic. Another damning point that these people (having lived in the “conspiracy” bubble for so long) have no idea how the actual world operates….I love the “Other” Dr. B patient group – as much as it saddens me to read about the tremendous loss that their families suffer, it is important to get that information out there so people see the other side – and how hollow the claims of Dr. B really are.
What was the response of the University? Pound sand, probably, right?
An audible shrug. 🙂 It doesn’t concern them. So there is nothing there.
Really? They contacted your employer? You’re employed?
You’re just jealous.
You’re lucky that your employer respects the separation of your personal blogging and work. Not all of us have that luxury. Keep up the science!
As someone who has been the victim of harassment at work from several anti-vaccine people, I commend you for keeping your cool. The amount of expletives that came out of my mouth after they did what they did to me were enough to make a Quentin Tarantino director of cinematography blush. Keep up the good work.
Thanks, Rene! And you….May I encourage your to contribute to the fund? (nudge nudge)–I’m getting pretty shameless about asking for money. 🙂
Where is the part where there is a “threat” – am I missing something?
Let me send a message to YOUR boss and then tell me that you don’t feel threatened.
Ok, I work in a coffee shop, and teach mandarin chinese on the side – email starbucks. my name is Roger Clement.
aaah poor fat boy.
That stays up. Also, here’s your IP info, if any skeptical ninjas want to look into it:
New comment on your post “Burzynski Filmmaker Contacts My EMPLOYER?!?!”
Author : bob bum witch (IP: 18.104.22.168 , host-92-20-197-23.as13285.net )
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Whois : http://whois.arin.net/rest/ip/22.214.171.124
aaah poor fat boy.
where is the malicious or “half-truth” part too? am I missing something? I just see a letter to an employer. the fact this employer employs him at all is the real stunner here.
Just another instance of intimidation by Burzynski and his cronies. This is appalling, seriously. If you have a problem with Bob sharing and analyzing the outcomes of Burzynski’s patients, then by all means, refute what he says or if you think it’s slanderous or libelous take legal action. Sending letters to a person’s employer regarding non-work activities is out of line, as is threatening teenage bloggers with Google Maps pictures of their house. The reality is, Burzynski can’t fight these posts with actual data or results, so he has to result to underhanded tactics such as this. Of course, it’s completely in line with his character.
wow – a lot of comments have just been deleted from this post. i wonder why “Bob” would delete comments? what does this piece of fucking shit have to hide? Perhaps his integrity?
I’ve deleted nothing. Have you posted with links? The spam filter does that if there are too many.
Looked into it. Nothing in the spam catcher. Turns out you don’t know how the internet works. 🙂
I’m a lawyer in TX (health-not med mal-and employment). Can’t disclose what a potential client told me, but I am very, very familiar with ol; Stanislaw. And not surprised by this. Keep it up.
It’s sad, really, that these people resort to harassing critics at their workplaces, since they can’t actually address the criticisms. Bob, glad to hear your employers are understanding.
My favorite part is where it says “psst- don’t tell Bob we sent this letter” (I am paraphrasing, of course). You are doing good work, Bob! These people taking advantage of others’ ignorance for profit make me sick, especially over medical matters. Keep up the good fight!
The funny thing is that you might think the quacks are deluded. You think, oh maybe they are just so convinced they are right that they can’t really absorb any argument. This kind of behavior shows they are venal and know exactly what they are doing. Keep up the effort, Bob.
We all know that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. However, in the world of quackery, threatening those who point out absence of evidence, usually is…
Yeah, when you can’t fight facts, fight dirty…seems par for the course for Dr. B & his cronies….
It seems “Bob” might have set himself for a lawsuit, it seems publishing someone’s personal email without permission is “invasion of privacy” and Bob can be sued. Garnishing much of his wages from his employer. Bob might not he be the “research ninja” he makes himself out to be:
Not to mention publishing the actual unpublished, “personal email address” itself. Poor Bob.
@scienceLover – Are you sure YOU actually read much less understood the content behind the link you provided? A plaintiff must establish four elements to hold someone liable for publication of private facts:
1. Public Disclosure: The disclosure of facts must be public. Another way of saying this is that the defendant must “give publicity” to the fact or facts in question.
2. Private Fact: The fact or facts disclosed must be private, and not generally known.
3. Offensive to a Reasonable Person: Publication of the private facts in question must be offensive to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities.
4. Not Newsworthy: The facts disclosed must not be newsworthy. Stated differently, the facts disclosed must not be a matter of legitimate public concern.
The re-publication of the aforementioned email fails the last two elements (particularly the 4th) and therefore fails to hold in its entirety. In simple terms, you’re post is nothing but hot air.
@Bob – the IP goes to an address in The Colony – a subdivision of North Dallas that is North of Carrollton TX.
@sL – you don’t know very much about the law, do you?
Or how to use “quotation” marks.
Yeah, I don’t know much about the law either but even I can read that link and see that it clearly doesn’t in any way apply to this situation. It isn’t even a private email, or are those generally headed with “Dr Mr ___ or To Whom It May Concern”? I think it concerns Bob and is definitely newsworthy. I can’t see a court disagreeing.
Also, email@example.com is the public registration address, so it’s no like it’s private or anything.
@Bob – this reminds me of a similar situation here http://charles-carreon.com/2012/09/06/this-is-how-i-thug/ I thought you might enjoy as the invidual in a position similar to yours, prevailed.
I find the actions of Eric Merola unprofessional, censourious, and thugish. All I can say Bob is that you must have them very worried indeed. Keep up the good work.
Hm, not sure where you found that “public registration address” care to share link?
Based on this link I don’t see that email anywhere – Bob is screwed:
Yeah, don’t feed the trolls, people. I’m shutting down comments later tonight, because really a whole lot of awesome people are going to say, “Go, Bob!” and a handful of trouser dumplings are going to say, “DOOOOOOM!” This ends shortly. 🙂
We raised $2000 for children with cancer today, people! Thanks very much!
[…] Eric Merola, who directed the Burzynski Movie, claims to be an independent documentary film maker. In December 2012, as part of his work on a follow up movie, he wrote to the employers of Bob Blaskiewicz, a vocal critic of Burzynski, pointing out Bob’s ‘extra-curricular activities’. This email also made the false assertion that antineoplastons are FDA approved. […]
[…] You might be interested that the EMPLOYER of one of our members was recetly contacted by one of Burzynski’s misguided supporters. […]
[…] Movie II: This Time It’s Peer-Reviewed (except that it’s still not, not really, and I can’t take credit for that joke, as much as I wish I could) or Burzynski The Movie II: Even Burzynskier Than The First, or […]
[…] has already proved unpopular with Burzynski supporters. In December 2012, Eric Merola emailed Bob’s employers informing them […]