Robert De Niro, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Offers $100k to Anyone who Can Prove Vaccines are Safe

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Does anyone have access to peer-reviewed scientific journals and want a quick $100,000? Because Robert F. Kennedy Jr., President Donald Trump’s favorite anti-vaxxer,  and actor Robert De Niro, who was great in The Godfather, have branched out into the realms of directing and bad science, and now they’re offering $100,000 to anyone who can prove that vaccines are safe.

According to the AV Club, yesterday Kennedy and De Niro were speaking at a press conference, and Kennedy offered $100,000 to anybody who could show him a study that proved thimerosol is safe in the amounts given to children. (Thimerosol is a vaccine preservative that was taken out most pediatric vaccines decades ago after people freaked out that it might cause autism, which studies have repeatedly shown it does not.)

This should be the easiest $100,000 anyone has ever made, because vaccines have been intensely studied for decades. Studies show vaccines are safe, even when those studies are funded by anti-vaccine organizations. But clearly Kennedy and De Niro are not accepting any of the many vaccine safety studies as evidence that vaccines are safe. You might have a better shot at winning Kennedy’s money if you showed up with a parrot that you trained to say, “Vaccines are safe” than if you showed up with an actual peer-reviewed study or 12 research scientists willing to swear on a stack of peer-reviewed journals that vaccines don’t cause autism.

Just as a reminder, Trump picked Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to head a committee on vaccine safety. De Niro believes vaccines cause autism and pushed hard for an anti-vaccine documentary called Vaxxed to be included in the Tribeca Film Festival. Neither likes the term anti-vaxxer, because they think it is a derogatory term used to shut down discussion. Maybe they’d prefer alt-science?