Former Playboy Playmate turned actress Jenny McCarthy has been named as a permanent replacement for comedienne Joy Behar, who is departing the show. The addition of McCarthy was announced by Barbara Walters, who created the series back in 1997, CBS News notes.
McCarthy parlayed her appearance in Playboy into roles in TV sitcoms and a few Hollywood movies, most memorably Scary Movie 3.
But along the way she has become a target for critics. In 2007, she publicly blamed vaccines for her son Evan’s autism and made the talk show rounds promoting the idea that mercury in vaccines is responsible for the condition.
Most physicians and public health advocates have denounced any link between vaccines and autism and say that fear stoked by such claims could cause parents to avoid vaccinations, potentially leaving children vulnerable to disease.