Robert De Niro refuses to show anti-vaccine documentary at Tribeca
The documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-UP to Catastrophe, that De Niro threw out of the Tribeca film fest, had drawn protests from critics who said including the film in the festival line-up amounted to siding with the anti-vaccine movement spawned by the discredited research.world cinema Updated: Mar 28, 2016 18:59 IST
A documentary that claims to have a link between vaccines and autism by former British medical researcher has been removed from the list of films to be shown at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, Robert De Niro, the festival’s founder said.
Vaxxed: From Cover-UP to Catastrophe had drawn protests from critics who said including the film in the festival line-up amounted to siding with the anti-vaccine movement spawned by the discredited research.
“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,” De Niro, who has a child with autism, said in a statement.
“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 film’s director, Andrew Wakefield, is the researcher whose 1998 paper claiming a link between the MMR vaccine and autism set off an anti-vaccine movement that medical authorities say has led to deaths from outbreaks of preventable childhood diseases like measles.
A probe by the British General Medical Council found that Wakefield had acted “dishonestly” in publishing his results.
Watch the trailer of Vaxxed: From Cover-UP to Catastrophe here:
British medical journal The Lancet retracted its publication of the study, saying parts of it had been falsified. Wakefield was subsequently barred from practicing medicine in Britain.
“The festival doesn’t seek to avoid or shy away from controversy,” De Niro said.
“However, we have concerns with certain things in this film that we feel prevent us from presenting it in the festival programme. We have decided to remove it from our schedule.”
The Tribeca Film Festival runs April 13-24.
First Published: Mar 28, 2016 18:55 IST