Film

Robert De Niro issues statement on controversial anti-vaccine film at TFF

A new statement has been released by Robert Di Nero since this article was first published. The new statement can be read here, now that film has been pulled from the TFF.

[ The Original Article can be read below ]

When it was announced that “VAXXED” would be screening at the Tribeca Film Festival this year, it was met with some stern opposition.

The film was produced by Andrew Wakefield, who is one of the main opponents of mandatory vaccinations for children. The anti-vaccination movement picked up steam back in 1998 when Wakefield published findings that attributed the combination of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccines to an increase in autism in young children.

Those findings were found later to be grossly incorrect, they were discredited and Wakefield was stripped of his medical license. Wakefield was found guilty of “abusing a position of trust as a medical practitioner,” and found guilty of “dishonesty” in his studies which ended his career as a medical doctor.

The film’s description states, “Digging into the long-debated link between autism and vaccines, Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe features revealing and emotional interviews with pharmaceutical insiders, doctors, politicians, parents, and one whistleblower to understand what’s behind the skyrocketing increase of autism diagnoses today.”

Wakefield’s official bio connected with the film at TFF reads, “Andrew Wakefield, MB.BS., is an academic gastroenterologist who practiced medicine at the Royal Free in the U.K. publishing over 140 scientific papers.” The bio continues, “In 1995, he was contacted by parents of autistic children with stomach issues; he learned that these conditions often occurred immediately following an MMR vaccine. In pursuit of this possible link, Dr. Wakefield led an initial study of twelve children with both stomach and developmental issues. The report, published in The Lancet, would catapult Wakefield into becoming one of the most controversial figures in the history of medicine.”

So when “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe” hit TFF this year, you can imagine the outrage from groups that have been fighting the consequences of Wakefield’s work for the last decade.

Now a week following the reveal that VAXXED would be screened at the festival, Robert De Niro has issued a statement. De Niro, as many readers probably already know, is a co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival.

Di Niro’s statement in full reads:

“Grace and I have a child with autism and we believe it is critical that all of the issues surrounding the causes of autism be openly discussed and examined. In the 15 years since the Tribeca Film Festival was founded, I have never asked for a film to be screened or gotten involved in the programming. However this is very personal to me and my family and I want there to be a discussion, which is why we will be screening VAXXED. I am not personally endorsing the film, nor am I anti-vaccination; I am only providing the opportunity for a conversation around the issue.”

How the screening will pan-out remains to be seen but the film already has incredible amount of buzz behind it; although for entirely the wrong reasons.