SACRAMENTO — It was meant to be an evening all about words — a forum on how hate speech damages society.
But, as host, Senator and Doctor Richard Pan couldn’t have guessed he’d confront these words on a protester’s sign: “Senator Pan encourages hate speech.”
“It just seems extremely hypocritical,” said Joshua Coleman.
“When you talk about hate speech, it’s a very interesting thing for him to be talking about because when you go to his Facebook page, um, you see really hateful comments, people saying they’re going to kill our children in front of us,” said Kim McCauley.
The “us” she’s talking about are parents against SB 277 — the mandatory childhood vaccination bill Pan pushed into law last year.
They came out to the California Railroad Museum on Wednesday to push back at Pan about the hostile remarks they say he’s let live online for months.
“Your birth was an injury to society.”
“I will be posting your home address, as well as personal info…enjoy.”
Those are just some of the messages this group says they’ve seen go undeleted on Pan’s page since the governor signed SB 277.
The debate over the bill brought in death threats to Pan then, now some posters on the senator’s Facebook account say they’re wishing the anti-vaxxers would die.
“My oldest daughter Ella was injured by the Prevnar vaccine,” said McCauley, a mom who supports choice in vaccinations.
She’s suing the federal government through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program about the reactive airway disease Ella has now.
“Vaccines are bad. They could get you paralyzed like I did,” 7-year-old Otto Coleman shared from his wheelchair.
“My son at 17-months-old, he had a vaccine injury. He has vaccine-induced transverse myelitis. So, vaccines are reprogramming your immune system. Well his immune system got confused, attacked his spinal cord and did permanent damage,” said Coleman, another parent for choice in vaccination.
Such parents agree to disagree with vaccine supporters, but say the debate shouldn’t be threatening.
FOX40 asked Senator Pan about some of the comments living in threads on his page.
After a long pause he said, “Extremist speech is concerning.”
“Trying to patrol the social media accounts, if you’ve ever tried doing that, is very challenging.”
Pan went on to say he was unaware of any hate speech on his page, pointing out that his account is constantly monitored for issues
Kim McCauley maintains screen shots she’s taken prove a death threat lobbed at anti-vaxxers was on the senator’s page at 9:50 a.m. Tuesday.
Since FOX40 asked Pan about the comments on his page, she also says many of the comments she and other members of her group have screen captured have been deleted.