Robert De Niro has been forced to explain his anti-vaccine views amid a huge media storm about claims that they cause autism.
Various media outlets have condemned Andrew Wakefield’s documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe – screened during the Tribeca Film Festival – of which Robert De Niro is co-founder.
In a personal statement he defended his choice to screen the film:
“Grace [Hightower] 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“.
Tribeca Enterprises’ SVP of Communications sent us the following response directly from De Niro and his wife, Grace.
“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.
In the 15 years since the Tribeca Film Festival was founded, I have never asked for a film to be screened or gotten involved in the programming.
However 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.”
Wakefield’s film has been the subject of mainstream scrutiny ever since Tribeca revealed its intention to premiere the movie.
Some speculation existed, though unconfirmed, that Leonardo DiCaprio was behind the film’s funding and push. We’ve been investigating the matter because we feel confident that some of Hollywood’s most successful are helping the film.
De Niro’s announcement tells us that at the very least, he considers the vaccine and autism link, to be, at least, a potential issue. To be accurate, it says he believes it should be regarded in the discussion.
Jezebel, Salon and the LA Times have all condemned De Niro’s decision. The baffling stance by mainstream media to condemn the airing of diverse opinions is not lost on this journalist. It is total hypocrisy.