Poor, Persecuted Anti-Vaxxers Think Their Movie Is Being Censored by Robert De Niro

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giphySorry, Deadpool, a new summer blockbuster is coming to smash the box office: Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophy, a new documentary by former doctor and anti-vaccination activist Andrew Wakefield.

While Vaxxed is sure to be as big a box-office smash as the Atlas Shrugged trilogy, it will not be shown at the Tribeca Film Festival. The festival–which was co-founded by Robert De Niro–was going to screen the documentary, but announced Friday that it had reconsidered after an outpouring of rage from the scientific and medical communities, who said that airing an anti-vax documentary lent the movement an veneer of respectability that it did not deserve.

“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 said when he announced Friday that the movie would no longer be part of the festival. “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.”

Now, of course, Wakefield and his supporters appear to be crying conspiracy. If one follows the #VAXXED tag on Twitter, one finds plenty of conspiracy theories about Big Pharma threatening De Niro into pulling the film.




It’s not exactly surprising that supporters of a film that purports to “reveal an alarming deception that has contributed to the skyrocketing increase of autism and potentially the most catastrophic epidemic of our lifetime” see conspiracy behind every corner. De Niro’s involvement in this decision just makes it really easy for them to make Twitter memes about the mafia.

According to Jezebel, over the weekend Wakefield addressed the news with a statement in support of his film, writing:

“It is our understanding that persons from an organization affiliated with the festival have made unspecified allegations against the film – claims that we were given no opportunity to challenge or redress. 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.”

Once again people seem to be confused about what due process and the First Amendment are for. Neither of them involve getting to show your movie at the Tribeca Film Festival, otherwise my own rights are being trampled by my not being allowed to have a screening of my film at the Tribeca Film Festival. (My film is just footage of my baby rubbing carrots into her hair. My mom liked it.)

Wakefield is right about one thing, though, Vaxxed getting cut from the Tribeca Film Festival will not succeed in denying anyone access to the film. Everyone is still allowed to watch it if they want to. They just won’t get to see it at the Tribeca Film Festival.