For instance, Rush Limbaugh said that Fox was faking the effects of Parkinson's.
"He is exaggerating the effects of the disease," Limbaugh told listeners. "He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act. . . . This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting."
"This is the only time I've ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has," Limbaugh said. "He can barely control himself."
I suppose that Limbaugh might look at the sheer volume of prescription narcotics in his own medicine cabinet and think that he's a doctor, but he is, in fact, no more a physician than Dr. Pepper. In light of that, he did issue a grudging retraction later that day, saying, "I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox, if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act," but it all rings kind of hollow if you actually watch Limbaugh mocking Fox's symptoms during his show.
The other comment frequently heard about that ad is that Michael J. Fox is being manipulative and trying to use his disease to sway opinion toward supporting stem cell research. And my response would have to be, "Um, yeah?" Who better to advocate for research than someone who is truly desperate for a cure? That's not manipulation; that's letting people stare into the face of a disease and decide exactly how interested they are in curing it. And if that feels weird, it's supposed to.
Largely unrelated update: None of that means, however, that you have to suffer from Parkinson's or multiple sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's Disease or diabetes to be an advocate for a cure. Sometimes it's enough to be someone who might get them eventually:
Isn't that little girl possibly the cutest little girl ever to stand in front of a camera? Won't someone give that cute little girl a TV contract? Seriously.