Andrew Wakefield releases the trailer for his William Thompson video. Slick production and dishonesty

22 Mar

Remember the disasterous “Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis” movie? That’s the one where Andrew Wakefield was trying to create an autism reality TV show where he would swoop in with his “A”utism TEAM and solve problems for families and show that he was right all along. Except that after the “A”utism team filled a family with false hope, Alex’s mother and godmother brutally murdered Alex. Wakefield took on no blame. Instead he shifted blame from those who committed the act to mainstream medicine. Basically whitewashing a gruesome murder of a disabled young man.

I will note that in the trailer for “Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis”, Wakefield spliced video from a completely different story.

Or, remember when Brian Hooker published a paper claiming that CDC data shows that vaccines cause autism and Wakefield followed up with a YouTube video that was so over the top bad that he claimed that non only were the CDC (including a civil rights pioneer) were engaging in a new Tuskegee Experiment, but that they were worse than Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot? Because, you see, those brutal dictators were at least sincere. No, I’m not making that up.

Wakefield has been working for some time to make a feature length film out of the Brian Hooker/CDC story. He has an early trailer for “Feast of Consequences” (as it was called then). Just as with the Alex Spourdalakis story, this trailer includes video unrelated to his actual story (the video of a police standoff and the pictures of the girl in the wheelchair appear to be from the Maryanne Godboldo story).

Well, not to be deterred from the film making business, Mr. Wakefield is at it again. This time with the full length movie, now called “Vaxxed”. Here’s the trailer:

The trailer starts with what appears to be a reenactment of a conversation between Brian Hooker (vocal advocate for the failed idea that vaccines cause autism) and William Thompson (CDC researcher):

Brian Hooker:

My phone rings and it’s Dr William Thompson

This is followed by recordings of a phone call with William Thompson:

“you and I don’t know each other very well. You have a son with autism, and I have great shame now.”

Then a narrator.

“There’s a whistleblower from the CDC who is going to come out and say that the CDC had committed fraud on the MMR study and that they knew that vaccines were actually causing autism”

Sit back for a moment and consider what your first impressions of this intro are. I know mine–they seem to be setting this up as the first or perhaps one of the early phone calls between Thompson and Hooker. Since the actual audio clips from Thompson weren’t that sensational, the narrator is quickly pulled in to tell us what really happened.

But this is Andrew Wakefield. And if we’ve learned anything about Andrew Wakefield over the years it’s that you have to check every single detail of what he’s saying. He does a lot of leading you to the conclusion he wants you to believe, whether the facts say something entirely different or not.

Let’s start with a small detail. I suspect many have already wondered why I referred to the clips from Thompson in the plural. It’s because that 10 seconds or so of audio is actually two different comments from Thompson spliced together. And taken out of context. We know this because a book was released with the transcripts of the calls that Brian Hooker secretly recorded.

“You and I don’t know each other very well” is from this part of a conversation. Well into the second call that Hooker secretly recorded. And Hooker didn’t start recording calls until later in their relationship, so this isn’t an introduction at all. We will get into the discussion of what Thompson meant later:

You and I don't know each other very well

“You have a son with autism, and I have great shame now.”

I have great shame

OK, the two clips are from completely different parts of a phone call that happened well into the Hooker/Thompson relationship. Wakefield spliced them together to create a story and, just in case we missed his point, brought in a narrator to tell us what the story “really” is.

So, documentary producer/director he is not. But we didn’t really expect that, did we?

Let’s take a look at those two exchanges in a bit more detail, shall we?

First, “we don’t know each other very well”, was Thompson saying that even after multiple previous exchanges, Hooker doesn’t understand Thompson’s motivations and fears. Hooker appears to be digging for dirt. Something about the behaviors of people at CDC. Likely to smear them later. This seems to be a bit of a trigger for Thompson as he has battled mental illness. He’s not comfortable because he can already see the day when people will say, “Well, he’s [Thompson] mentally ill and why would you believe anything he says, it’s just hearsay”. Hooker assures him that it’s none of their business, and that “I [Hooker] don’t want that to happen, period.”

That’s a heavily ironic thing to read now. Why? The only reason people know about Thompson’s personal medical history is that Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield made it public. Hooker and Wakefield filed a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services and included this statement from William Thompson:

Ya know, I’m not proud of that and uh, it’s probably the lowest point in my career that I went along with that paper and I also paid a huge price for it because I became delusional.

And this exchange between Hooker and Thompson

Dr. Hooker: Did you raise that…did you raise that issue at the time?
Dr. Thompson: I will say I raised this issue…I will say I raised this issue, the uh…two days before I became delusional.


Dr. Thompson: It is one of the reasons I became delusional because I was so paranoid about this being published.

So, not only is “you and I don’t know each other very well” not a “Hi, you don’t know be very well, but I’m about to spill the beans” sort of statement, it’s basically Thompson saying that one of his big fears is, well, exactly what Hooker did to him: out his struggles with mental illness.

With friends like Brian Hooker…

So, the second part of the spliced statement that Wakefield included in his trailer, what is that in context? “You have a son with autism, and I have great shame now.” Is it, as the narrator leads us to think, a statement about fraud and that vaccines are proved to cause autism?

No. Or, in Thompson’s own words:

“No, no, no, no. Here’s what I shoulder. I shoulder that the CDC has put the research 10 years behind. Because the CDC has not been transparent, we’ve missed 10 years of research because the CDC is so paralyzed right now by anything related to autism.”

It’s a statement that in William Thompson’s view, the CDC hasn’t done enough vaccine/autism research. It’s a sentiment that I disagree with, given how much effort has been spent on researching the failed idea that vaccines are a primary cause of autism. But let’s move on.

Let’s instead move to the narrator. Recall his statement

“There’s a whistleblower from the CDC who is going to come who is going to come out and say that the CDC had committed fraud on the MMR study and that they knew that vaccines were actually causing autism”

So, what about Thompson saying the CDC committed fraud on the MMR study? Didn’t happen, that’s what. Yes, he had criticisms. He starts his one voluntary public statement with, “I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. ” But let’s stick to what we know Thompson said, rather than what Wakefield and Hooker claim he said in regards to fraud, shall we? What makes the decision to not report a finding “fraud” over a scientific decision? Well, Thompson never says in his statement that there was fraud or misconduct by the CDC team. He does say “Reasonable scientists can and do differ in their interpretation of information.”

Let’s back up a bit, what is the Hooker/Wakefield claim of fraud? In a nutshell, they claim that the CDC team found a result they didn’t want to make public and then changed the research plan/protocol so they wouldn’t have to report that. In this exchange from a phone call we can see Hooker apparently trying to get Thompson on tape saying this. Trying because Thompson refuses to say it:

Dr. Hooker: And then you basically deviated from that particular plan in order to reduce the statistical significance that you saw in the African American Cohort.

Dr. Thompson: Well, we, um, we didn’t report findings that, um…All I will say is we didn’t report those findings. I can tell you what the other coauthors will say.

As to the claim by the narrator that Thompson stepped forward and stated that …”that [The CDC] knew that vaccines were actually causing autism”. Nope.

Consider this part of the public statement by Thompson, a statement I doubt will be prominent in Wakefield’s movie

I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race. Vaccines prevent serious diseases, and the risks associated with their administration are vastly outweighed by their individual and societal benefits.

That is not the statement of a person who believes that vaccines have been shown to cause autism and that the studies to the contrary are “fraud”.

Also, Thompson provided a summary statement to Member of Congress Bill Posey. That was made public along with a great deal more documents when I released them here. What does Mr. Thompson have to say about the study in question showing that vaccines “actually cause autism”?

The fact that we found a strong statistically significant finding among black males does not mean that there was a true association between the MMR vaccine and autism-like features in this subpopulation.

Let’s give this finding the greatest benefit of the doubt. Let’s ignore that it is an incredibly weak and almost certainly spurious result. Even then, it doesn’t show causation. A study like this can’t. And anyone who has done scientific research (such as Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield) should know that.

But, hey, let’s just make this simple–if Thompson had said something clearly claiming fraud, clearly claiming that the CDC knew vaccines cause autism, Wakefield would have included that in his video. Instead he splices disparate conversations together and has his narrator tell us what we should think.

In other words, if Wakefield had the facts, he’d use them. Instead all I see is more smoke and mirrors.

And that’s just the beginning. The first 30 seconds. We could go on and on, dissecting the trailer frame by frame. It’s that bad. And this is just the trailer. He has a full film out now.

By Matt Carey

50 Responses to “Andrew Wakefield releases the trailer for his William Thompson video. Slick production and dishonesty”

  1. reissd March 22, 2016 at 20:07 #

    Sigh. Thank you for, once again, going in detail into how Wakefield and his team misrepresent the evidence on this issue. It’s sad that there’s the potential to mislead those not familiar with the material and potentially harm children.

    • Science Mom March 23, 2016 at 03:48 #

      It’s sad that there’s the potential to mislead those not familiar with the material and potentially harm children.

      Even worse are people like Dr. Jim Sears, who appears in this “documentary” hasn’t even bothered to read the publically-available Thompson documents but appears to lend his support after being spoon-fed by Wakefraud. The Tribeca PR person claims the “documentary” was vetted and is sound. Vetted by who? But Tribeca is getting what they want which is controversy.

      • sadmar March 23, 2016 at 14:04 #

        I think you’re giving Sears too much credit, Science Mom. Honest, my immediate reaction to his soundbite in the trailer was, “this guy’s lying through his teeth”. Maybe he hasn’t read the documents, but he’d have to be living under a rock not to know the basics of what’s in them:. “Everything I’ve been telling my patients for the last ten years has been based on a lie and a cover-up.” Really? That would only parse if Andy Wakefield was your sole source of ‘information’ about the world. Maybe Andy edited Jim’s line way out of context, too…. Nahh. Pure as the driven snowjob right from Sears’ lips..

  2. mooncatadams March 23, 2016 at 04:02 #

    (Comment peremptorily deleted by good sense not to rant and curse and/or make vicious internet threats against Wakefield). 🙂

  3. Brian Deer March 23, 2016 at 21:55 #

    Wakefield probably went to see the Tribeca people himself. He’s very effective. Utterly destroyed the last part of John Walker-Smith’s career, and ruined the reputation of Professor Arie Zuckerman.

    He’ll have entirely taken them in. Answer for everything, or so it appears,

    • David Hammond March 25, 2016 at 07:34 #

      Brian Deer

      Is it true that you attended 160 days of Andrew Wakefield’s trial? If so, who paid for you to attend the trial?

      • Lawrence March 25, 2016 at 11:39 #

        You know he’s a journalist, right?

      • reissd March 25, 2016 at 16:36 #

        You think that a journalist who wrote about Andrew Wakefield’s actions would not be attending that?

      • Chris March 25, 2016 at 17:01 #

        The London Times or some other news agency, because he is a journalist he gets paid for writing about things like hearings on medical misconduct. He has even earned to two press awards for his writing.

        Here, you can read about it on his webpage:

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 25, 2016 at 21:35 #

        A better question is why Wakefield felt it was better to attend the hearing, and no doubt spend a great deal of time working on it outside the hearing room, than do his job.

        Wakefield stated clearly he had no need for his license. Spending day after day in hearings could only defend something he didn’t need. At the same time, he was heading a clinic for treatment and research on autistic children.

        So, even if you feel he was wrongly accused, you have to question his priorities. What value did he bring to himself or the autism community by attending the hearing?

        One answer, maybe not his: theater. A big show. A big expensive show. Lots of publicity for Wakefield. He still uses the images from that hearing as the backdrop for his Facebook page.

        Wakefield never talks about losing his job at Thoughtful House. He tells people about how he will gladly sacrifice everything for “these children”. About how his set backs are all from the establishment.

        But, hey, he helped found Thoughtful House. The financial backing for it came from someone very open to vaccine causation and alt med. And yet Wakefield and almost all his team are now gone, the site has changed its name and the website doesn’t even mention Wakefield.

      • brian March 27, 2016 at 04:22 #

        Matt, thanks for your detailed discussion of another fraudulent work by Wakefield. I think that simple things like showing that Wakefield dishonestly spliced together statements from two different conversations into a single sentence that was intended to lead his audience along his chosen path helped to convince many that his mockumentary should not be given screen time at a prestigious film festival.

      • Marina Zlatin March 30, 2016 at 14:27 #

        It is very well known who paid Brian Deer to libel Dr Andrew Wakefield.and Dr Walker-Smith. It is good that Dr Walker-Smith eventually won a court battle to get his licence reinstated. Out of billions of dollars of ill-gotten profit for vaccines, and trillions to treat chronic diseases induced by vaccines, Deer got small chunk to finance his existence. This website and others linked to this page are financed from the same unclean source.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 30, 2016 at 15:24 #

        No one. There was no libel.

        Had Wakefield felt differently he could have brought suit in a venue where he had standing. He did not.

        This place is run by a single autism parent. You will either present you evidence to back yournskur, leave in shame for lying, or find you are no longer welcome here.

        My guess is you lack the backbone to defend your slur and actually want to claim that you are banned.

  4. enri March 28, 2016 at 06:18 #
    Did you just forget and mention him? have a look here … Poul Thorsen story

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 28, 2016 at 18:35 #

      Perhaps you could search this site and find much discussion of Poul Thorsen?

      What does Poul Thorsen have to do with Wakefield’s documentary? I’d say nothing, but given how little material he had for his actual subject (William Thompson) he’s probably dragged everything including the kitchen sink into his video.

      • knows the truth March 30, 2016 at 14:47 #

        Thorsen is the person whose name is on almost every CDC paper claiming there is no connection between vaccines and autism. That is why CDC protects it’s scientist turned thief Thorsen. All top CDC brass are Thompson’s co-authors on his fraudulent papers. They can not to declare years of their “research” to be what it is – a fraud financed by taxpayer’s money. How many of them participated in Thorsen stealing of millions of dollars? Someone signed his invoices. All of them in CDC involved in this fraud should be investigated and put to prison when investigation uncovers their involvement. That is why they are so scared of Wakefield’s documentary. That they threatened De Niro into pulling it from the festival. They are fighting for their money. But the truth reaches people, no matter how frantic are their attempts to suppress it.
        Thank you, Dr Wakefield for your great work and courage.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 30, 2016 at 15:28 #

        Thorsen stole money from the CDC. That makes them the direct victim of the crime.

        Many of your statements are just false. Are you ignorant or are you lying? List all the CDC vaccine papers and show that “top brass” are all Co authors. Show that he is an author on most of the CDC vaccine autism papers. Back up your claims of fraud .

        Here’s a hint–“I don’t agree with the conclusions of this paper” is not evidence of fraud.

        Apparently you like to troll disability focused websites and spread misinformation. I’ve already written the terms by which you may continue to participate in this discussion.

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 30, 2016 at 15:33 #

        Marina, you are allowed one name/pseudonym here. Acting as though you are multiple persons partaking in this conversation is the sign of dishonesty.

    • knows the truth March 30, 2016 at 15:27 #

      Great link. Many stories about Thorsen disappeared from Internet: his cronies at CDC work hard to erase information on their “star” scientist

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 30, 2016 at 16:13 #

        Stories about Thorsen disappeared? Even my criticisms of him? Or when I posted that he was on the OIG most wanted list? I was the first to post that bit of information.

        But nice demonstration of conspiracy theory mongering.

  5. Kerry Cromack March 30, 2016 at 16:03 #

    I use to be a believer that these anti vaccine advocates were all kooks until my daughter had a febrile seizure following the MMR vaccine. I then started becoming more cynical and then began to read extensively on the matter. What I found is their is significant research that ought to give people caution.

    The information in the book Vaccine Epidemic is well documented and attests well to the bias and corruption of Big Pharma. The Documentary “Bought” likewise shows the power of a well funded organization to marginalize and destroy anyone who would dare challenge them, and the untold damage done to the recipients of the Vaccine industry. I don’t understand how this massive organization with all it’s money and influence could not get their charges to stick on Dr. Wakefield. The fact that he was completely exonerated of all charges in a court of law ought to tell you who the real charlatans are. I don’t blame my Dr. for my daughters reaction to the shots. The information they receive is also “Bought”!

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 30, 2016 at 16:11 #

      So, you’ve read a book and seen a documentary. But didn’t understand them.

      Wakefield was charged with multiple counts of unethical behavior. He was stripped of his license. And that finding stands.

      He declined the chance to appeal his hearing in a court of law. So you have that fact wrong.

      He was never brought up on criminal charges at least in part because the statute of limitations was passed by the time his unethical behavior came to light.

      You do realize that febrile seizures are almost always benign, right?

    • reissd March 30, 2016 at 16:30 #

      I have no doubt a febrile seizure would be incredibly scary, but reading about it would show you that it is caused by fever, is very common under the age of 5 – 2-5% of kids have it – and is usually benign. Further, since high fevers are part of a normal, non-complicated measles case, a child is probably much more likely to have one if we were not giving MMR.

      Dr. Wakefield was a media darling until the charges against him came to light. They “stick” because they’re impeccably documented. No, he was not exonerated. I think you may be confusing with Dr. Walker-Smith, who was – in part by claiming Wakefield lied to him. See:

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 30, 2016 at 19:14 #

      “I use to be a believer that these anti vaccine advocates were all kooks ”

      Then shame on you. Seriously, shame on you for believing that.

      Being wrong is not being a “kook”.

      But my guess is you put that in there to try to paint others here as thinking that anti-vaccine advocates (note I rarely use the term anti-vaccine) are “kooks” and, thus, their opinions should be discounted. Basically, this reads as “I used to be like you”

      Well, you weren’t. I have respect for people I disagree with. Perhaps that’s the lesson you should have learned, rather than fear of vaccines.


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