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Robert De Niro's Tribeca Festival Pulls Anti-Vaccination Film

After initially defending the inclusion of anti-vaccination documentary 'Vaxxed', Robert De Niro is removing the film from the lineup of his Tribeca Film Festival.

The film is directed and co-written by Andrew Wakefield, the lead author in a study published in a medical journal in 1998 that suggested a link between vaccines and autism.

Those claims were found to not be true and he was eventually found guilty of professional misconduct with the publication redacting his article. Wakefield eventually lost his medical license.

Robert De Niro, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, initially defended screening the film, stating: "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."

"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."

However, De Niro has now reversed his decision.

"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."

"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 filmmakers have responded by accusing the Tribeca Film Festival of "censorship."

"We were denied due process. 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," they say.

The Tribeca Film Festival will run from April 13 to April 24.

March 28, 2016 |

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