A controversial film about the discredited link between autism and vaccinations has been pulled from Robert De Niro’s Tribeca film festival, after the actor consulted “the scientific community” and found
The father of an autistic child and co-founder of the festival, De Niro at first defended the decision to premiere Vaxxed: from Cover-Up to Catastrophe, despite outcry from doctors and researchers.
Repeated studies involving more than a million children have found there is no evidence to link childhood vaccines to autism. But a small movement of activists persists in the belief that vaccinations might somehow harm children.
On Saturday De Niro released a statement to explain the new decision. “My intent in screening this film was to provide an opportunity for conversation around an issue that is deeply personal to me and my family,” he said.
“But after reviewing it over the past few days with the Tribeca film festival team and others from the scientific community, we do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for.
“The Festival doesn’t seek to avoid or shy away from controversy. However, we have concerns with certain things in this film that we feel prevent us from presenting it in the Festival program. We have decided to remove it from our schedule.”
The controversial film was directed by Andrew Wakefield, a disgraced British former doctor who published a study in 1998 that claimed links between a vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and autism. The paper was quickly found to contain numerous flaws and was deemed by the British Medical Journal “an elaborate fraud”.
You know, 45 seconds on the internet would have revealed that Wakefield is a charlatan and a fraud who should be in jail.
There is a difference between controversial and con man.