The makers of a film linking childhood immunization to autism are crying censorship after actor-director Robert De Niro dropped a showing and discussion of their film from his Tribeca Film Festival.
De Niro had previously defended showing the film saying he and his wife “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.”
Facing a massive public backlash, the festival dropped the film with De Niro issuing a new statement Saturday night, saying, "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.”
According to Deadline Hollywood, the filmmakers are crying foul.
“To our dismay, we learned today about the Tribeca Film Festival’s decision to reverse the official selection of Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe,” said director Andrew Wakefield and producer Del Bigtree.
“It is our understanding that persons from an organization affiliated with the festival have made unspecified allegations against the film,” the statement continued. "We have just witnessed yet another example of the power of corporate interests censoring free speech, art, and truth. Tribeca’s action will not succeed in denying the world access to the truth behind the film Vaxxed.”
Doctors, researchers and activists have railed against the film saying it relies on the discredited research of Wakefield, a gastroenterologist who claimed a link between childhood vaccinations and autism in a 1998 study based on 12 patients.
Since that time, Wakefield’s work was disavowed by medical journal The Lancet, which first published his study. After further investigation, Wakefield was stripped of his medical license.
Studies --including one paid for by anti-vaxxers -- show no link between MMR and autism, with the medical establishment asserting that denying children the vaccine puts the whole population at risk of contracting childhood diseases that are close to being erased.