In a move fanning the flames of an already uncontrollable garbage fire, actor and Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Robert De Niro released a statement defending the annual event’s decision to screen the controversial documentary, Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe.
Directed and co-written by the former British medical doctor, Andrew Wakefield, Vaxxed re-presents his debunked 1998 study linking MMR vaccines (for measles, mumps and rubella) to autism and other debilitating conditions. The paper’s findings were eventually retracted in 2010 as several of its co-authors disagreed with Wakefield’s argued results. According to The New York Times, Britain’s General Medical Council stripped him of his medical license in 2010 due to ethical violations pertaining to the study.
Tribeca’s website for the film didn’t mention these particular items from Wakefield’s history. Instead, it emphasized the film and its purported focus on the “long-debated link between autism and vaccines,” as well as the supposed conspiratorial reasons “behind the skyrocketing increase of autism diagnoses today.”