After deciding that he hadn’t sufficiently tarnished his legacy with the Fockers franchise, Robert De Niro has gone ahead and leapt into the blazing dumpster fire that is the anti-vaccination movement.
Earlier this week, the veteran actor announced that he would be screening the film Vaxxed, by ex-doctor Andrew Wakefield, at his Tribeca Film Festival, in order to start a “conversation” about why vaccinating your kids is bad.
De Niro doesn’t usually get involved with the programming side of things at the Tribeca festival, but in this instance, he felt that the message contained in Vaxxed needed to be heard.
Wakefield is famous for his claims that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine causes autism, and that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are currently engaged in a massive cover-up concerning this fact.
De Niro copped an immediate and intense backlash for his decision to screen the film, and after taking an almighty amount of flak on the TFF’s website and social media, has announced that he’s pulling the screening.
In a statement made overnight, he said:
“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.”
In a way, pulling the film seems counter-productive, as it will only vindicate anti-vaxers’ already-entrenched perception of themselves as a persecuted minority, but the TFF is free to do whatever it damn well pleases, and we’ll just leave this here:
Photo: Jamie McCarthy / Getty.