Actor Robert Di Nero at first defended Tribeca film festival's shocking decision to include an anti-vaccination film made by a charlatan called "Vaxxed," which also claims a government conspiracy behind getting your children sick.
“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,” De Niro said. “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,” the “Raging Bull” actor continued.
After a huge outcry from the medical community as well as concerned citizens, Tribeca has pulled the film and will no longer screen it.
Facing a storm of criticism over its plan to show a documentary about the widely debunked link between vaccines and autism, the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday pulled the film from its schedule next month.
In a statement, Robert De Niro, a founder of the festival, wrote: “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.”
Doctors and infectious disease experts also spoke out. “Unless the Tribeca Film Festival plans to definitively unmask Andrew Wakefield, it will be yet another disheartening chapter where a scientific fraud continues to occupy a spotlight,” Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said in an interview on Friday.
Since De Niro doesn't stand with the anti-vaccers, I'll give him a pass for making an initially very bad decision to agree to screen this travesty of a film.
Even the NY Times editorial board blasted Andrew Wakefield in an op-ed they did in 2013:
Britain is experiencing serious outbreaks of measles that look to be a delayed consequence of a failure to vaccinate infants and young children more than a decade ago. A prime cause of that failure was ill-founded fears among parents that a widely used vaccine to combat measles, mumps and rubella might cause autism. Because they shunned the vaccine, their children, now in their teens, are suffering the consequences.
Those fears had been fanned by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a British researcher, who claimed to have found a link between the vaccine, gastrointestinal problems found in many autistic children and autism itself. His work was subsequently discredited, and the BMJ, a British medical journal, concluded that flaws in his scientific study were not honest mistakes but an “elaborate fraud.”
Being a fraud in general is a horrible thing, but to be a fraud in the medical community, which then leads to pain and suffering for families around the world is truly evil personified.