Bleachgate: The Response

14 Aug

Wow. What just happened? I think Bleachgate went viral.
So far, I have received loads of messages of support from folks including Ben Goldacre (@BenGoldacre), Simon Singh (@SLSingh), Tom Chivers (@TomChivers) and John Dixon (@JohnLDixon). I’ve done
interviews for The Pod Delusion and Skeptics Guide to the Universe,
and a video production company in Yorkshire want to do a documentary
about me and my skeptical outlook.
So, what have I been up to since the video/blogpost? Well, I’ve not exactly been sitting around doing nothing!
Firstly, I have reported a couple of websites selling Miracle Mineral Solution to Consumers Direct who sent them on to Trading Standards. Trading
Standards have forwarded the complaints to the MHRA, who will get back to them with info on whether A) MMS is safe and B) the claims of efficacy are true. Given that we already know what the results should say, Trading Standards should be able to nail these websites. (Links now included here and  here; thanks for the NoFollow info!) I’ve also, as previously mentioned, done interviews for The Pod Delusion and Skeptics Guide to the Universe.
Since the video became popular, I was permanently banned from Crohn’s
Forum. A representative has also posted various comments on the video
claiming that I lied and that I am misleading everyone, that I was
illegally on the forum and that I was rude, aggressive and insulting.
I’d like to address these claims.
1. The claim that I lied in the video.
I did not once lie in the video. You can verify this yourself by
looking at the FreezePages of the threads herehere.
2. That I was illegally on the forum. This claim was made based upon
the fact that to register on the forum, you have to agree agree that
you are over 18 – unless you e-mail the admin asking for permission
beforehand, which I did.
(I will gladly forward these e-mails to anyone who asks for this proof.)
3. The final claim that I was rude, aggressive and insulting; I disagree
with. @medtek, @IrregularShed, @DanMcskelly, @frozenwarning, @KimMKendall, @AriesFyre, @FerFrias and @DT_1975 all followed my posts as Bleachgate unfolded and are willing to put their name to it that I wasn’t rude, aggressive or insulting (although @DanMcskelly says I came across as a bit snooty. Sorry if I did. That was never my intent.) But don’t just take their word for it. Read the FreezePages and decide for yourself.
Now, what’s next?
Well, Councillor John Dixon has asked me if I want to raise a public question in a Cardiff Council meeting and had offered to help me prepare. I have taken him up on this offer and will, this week, be in contact with him about this.
So, once again, thank you all for getting the story out there.
Special thanks to @kashfarooq for sending me @crohnsibd’s comments by email! Also special thanks to everyone who wrote their own blogposts about Bleachgate.
I will, of course, keep you informed of any and all news regarding Bleachgate!
Thanks for reading.
– Rhys

EDIT: I’ve now included those links. Thanks to everyone for the advice regarding NoFollow!

11 Responses to “Bleachgate: The Response”

  1. Dan Mcskelly August 14, 2010 at 11:54 pm #

    I feel like a knob for saying you came across as a bit snooty now. “Slightly exasperated” might be a better term!

    Well done for following this up mate, seems like you might be getting somewhere with trading standards if not with the mods on Forum drama rarely makes anyone look good but in this case I think you’re right to pursue it, it’s very sad that a forum for sufferers of a chronic condition is so quick to dismiss dissenting (and rational) viewpoints.

  2. DarkSapiens August 15, 2010 at 12:04 am #

    Hi! I learned about this issue today, through @FerFrias on Twitter. Very good work.

    Just wanted to say that you can still link to those webpages if you use the nofollow attribute value in HTML

    Cheers! 🙂

  3. Stuart Watt August 15, 2010 at 12:53 am #

    Just came across the Health Canada advisory on MMS, dated May, at It refers to a life-threatening reaction. You did exactly the right thing, this stuff is making people very ill.

  4. cackhandedkate August 15, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    Hi Rhys
    As someone who has come to all this late and via other skeptics, a couple of comments, er, three:
    firstly, I can’t believe how much s**t you took before deciding enough was enough. I would have posted a (I hope) dignified response saying, in effect, on their own head be it and left long before you did. Your tenacity and writing skills make me think you have a great future in front of you.

    secondly, would it be worth starting your own support blog for Crohn’s sufferers? This need not necessarily be a lot of work for you, but you would need the support of this community to log in to it every day so it gets enough hits to be right up there – or a whipround to pay for it to be a featured site. Call it something like Chrohn’sScienceInfo. Use it only to post headline information, like the FDA decision. If you were very careful about who you allow to post comments you wouldn’t even need to spend a lot of time looking after it.

    thirdly, and this has only just occurred to me and I haven’t seen anyone else mention it: Your writing is so mature we all forget you are only 15 years old. But the fact you are adds a very important dimension to the sustained criticism you experienced. To me it sounds like harrassment anyway, but it becomes very worrying when directed at a minor. At the very least, the moderator of the forum, having given you permission to take part, should have stepped in right at the start, pointed out your age and told people to back off. It would be interesting to get a legal opinion on that.

  5. tuimeltje August 15, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    Nice work!

    As for the PageRank issue, you could try adding NoFollow to the link tag and post the link anyway. It may already be automatically done by WordPress, the Wikipedia article seems to say that but I’m not sure I properly understand this whole issue.

    • Zeno August 15, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

      The rel=”nofollow” is automatically added by WordPress in comments (to deter spammers) but has to be added manually in a blog post.

  6. tuimeltje August 15, 2010 at 11:22 am #

    Okay, I should’ve maybe refreshed before posting a comment. 🙂

  7. Wildman October 14, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    Firstly, Rhys, bloody well done! You have, single handedly, restored my faith in this nation’s youth.

    Secondly, I have a miracle cure you may wish to recommend to those that wish to ignore sense:

    I have discovered that a quarter ounce of lead, blessed by Tibetan Monks and washed in the waters of the Ganges, when passed between the ears (*) at a rate of 1200 feet per second or greater, prevents ALL further illness. A truly Magic Bullet cure.

    I wonder how many of your detractors would be interested?

    (*= Absolutely DO NOT try this at home!)


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