Earlier this week Robert De Niro released a statement on why the Tribeca Film Festival decided to screen the controversial film “VAXXED” at this year’s event, now just a few days after that announcement was released, the film festival has reversed its decision to screen the film.
Robert De Niro, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, released the following statement earlier today, this time announcing that the film will not be showing at the film festival later this year.
“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. 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.”
De Niro continued, “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 film at the center of the controversy is “VAXXED: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe” which was produced by Andrew Wakefield.
Wakefield began the anti-vaccination movement back in 1998. Wakefield published a paper that attributed the combination of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccines to an increase in autism in young children.
Later on those findings were found to be incorrect, the paper was discredited and Wakefield was eventually stripped of his medical license. Following a few hearings, Wakefield was found guilty of “abusing a position of trust as a medical practitioner,” and found guilty of “dishonesty” in his practices.
The official description for the film 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 when it was still scheduled to be shown 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.”
While the sudden decision to remove the film will come to many as a surprise, it is not clear at this time of another outlet will screen the film at a later date.