What happened to the anti-vaccine protestor who hijacked a congressional debate?

Corbin McMillen, of California, is escorted of stage after hijacking Rep. Chris Stewart’s microphone to shout “vaccines cause autism” before being taken away by police and event staff. The incident occurred during a congressional debate between Republican incumbent Chris Stewart and Democratic challenger Shireen Ghorbani held at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, Sept. 17, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Those who watched a congressional candidate debate held last month at Dixie State University witnessed it take an odd turn when a man walked on stage and hijacked one of the candidate’s microphones.

Corbin McMillen, of Carmichael, California, briefly took over Republican incumbent Congressman Chris Stewart’s microphone during his Sept. 17 debate with Democratic challenger Shireen Ghorbani.

Read more: Man hijacks Stewart-Ghorbani congressional debate with shouts of vaccines causing autism

In this file photo, Corbin McMillen, of California, hijacks Rep. Chris Stewart’s microphone to shout “Vaccines cause autism” before being taken away by police and event staff during a congressional held at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, Sept. 17, 2018 | File photo courtesy of Fox 13 News, St. George News

“Vaccines cause autism,” McMillen said twice before being escorted off stage by police and debate staff. He was subsequently arrested by Dixie State University Police and charged with a class B misdemeanor for disrupting a public meeting.

But what happened after that?

In the wake of McMillen’s action, the Utah Debate Commission said it would – and did – beef up security for the next scheduled debate between senatorial candidates Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Jenny Wilson.

That debate, held Tuesday at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, took place without incident but not without the influence of event organizers.

St. George News reporter Jeff Richards, who was in attendance at Tuesday’s debate, said audience members were firmly instructed about proper decorum before the debate began, and the reminder clearly worked.

“You could’ve heard a pin drop in there,” Richards said, adding that the silence made it often hard to tell how the candidates’ comments were received by audience members.

Only at the end of the debate, at moderator Bruce Lindsay’s cue, did they finally break into a hearty round of applause for both candidates, Richards said.

Read more: From ‘deep frustration’ to reaching across the aisle, U.S. Senate candidates Romney, Wilson square off in debate

As for McMillen, he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge in St. George Justice Court Oct. 1.

Judge Ronald Reid handed down a suspended jail sentence of 180 days, a fine of $680 and 12 months probation.

McMillen’s social media accounts show posts supporting anti-vaccination views. Some commenters thanked McMillen for what he did at the debate and supporting his claim that vaccines are connection to autism.

Others questioned McMillen’s actions and wondered what he hoped to accomplish by hijacking a microphone.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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4 Comments

  • Anon October 11, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    It is a sad day when a group fears a mental illness so much that they look for anything to blame it on.

  • Not_So_Much October 11, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    The person who should have been on the stage is Tim Aalders who is a registered Republican but running on the Constitutional Party ticket. If you want to change things (at least try) then check out Tim Aalders then vote your conscious. Don’t settle for less.

    • Chris October 12, 2018 at 9:43 am

      Your literacy has not improved since the last time I called you on this: conscious vs. conscience. Apparently, Tim Aalders attracts the crowd that doesn’t read very much. Btw, Aalders is running for the Senate, not the House.

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