On Wednesday evening, the Daily Beast reported that actress Jessica Biel has been working on fighting a California state bill that would limit exemptions from vaccinations.
Biel, who is married to Justin Timberlake and has one son, has been working with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental activist who has become increasingly fixated on unfounded allegations over the safety of vaccines. Images of Biel and Kennedy seated together at the California State Assembly were first reported by Jezebel earlier on Wednesday, and raised questions over what, exactly, the two were doing together. (In the caption, Kennedy called Biel “courageous.”)
Kennedy confirmed to the Daily Beast that the pair are indeed lobbying the government against SB-276, a California state bill that would make it more difficult for families to be exempted from vaccinations without approval from a state public health officer. Kennedy declined to describe Biel as an anti-vaxxer, as he rejects the label, which he deems “pharmaceutical propaganda” and “a lie.” Instead, he said she is for “safe vaccines and for medical freedom,” before parroting pro-choice advocates and saying “my body, my choice.”
On Thursday, after news of her work with Kennedy broke, Biel confirmed the meetings in an Instagram post. She wrote, in part: “My concern with #SB277 [sic] 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.”
Also on Thursday, Jezebel published a report with intel from a legislative staffer who met with Biel and Kennedy. The staffer, who was granted anonymity (though Jezebel states that their identity was easy to verify), said Biel spoke of rejecting a doctor’s recommendation that her son follow a regular vaccine schedule. The staffer also said, “She said she wants safe vaccines and mentioned ‘corporations’ a lot.”
Speaking with the Daily Beast on Wednesday, Kennedy said of Biel: “She was a very effective advocate. She was very strong and very knowledgeable. Extremely well-informed. An extremely effective advocate. She knows what she’s talking about … She’s upset about this issue because of its particular cruelty. She has friends who have been vaccine-injured who would be forced to leave the state.”
Biel’s questionable views on vaccinations have been reported before, though never officially confirmed. In 2015, a source told In Touch Weekly that “she feels that vaccination could cause complications.”
This post has been updated.