Tribeca Film Festival pulls Wakefield’s (faux) documentary

27 Mar

Below is a copy of statements posted to the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) Facebook page. Responding to criticism about hosting a film promoting Wakefield’s failed views on vaccines and autism, Mr. De Niro first acknowledged that he had taken an active role in placing the film at TFF. Later, Mr. De Niro announced that the film was pulled from TFF and why.

I called the film a faux documentary, neither TFF nor Mr. De Niro has. My reasons are spelled out here.

I would like to thank Mr. De Niro for pulling TFF’s support from this film. While Mr. Wakefield will certainly find another venue to present this film, the stamp of legitimacy of having his film a “Tibeca Film Festival Official Selection” would have given Mr. Wakefield’s message a level of legitimacy it does not deserve.

vaxxed trailer screenshot

However, it must be said: this film should never have been a Tribeca Film Festival selection to begin with.

Here are the statements from Robert De Niro, from their Facebook page:

UPDATE: 3/26/2016 Statement from Robert De Niro, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, regarding VAXXED at the Festival:

“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.”

3/25/2016 Statement from Robert De Niro, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, regarding VAXXED at the Festival:

“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.”

By Matt Carey

6 Responses to “Tribeca Film Festival pulls Wakefield’s (faux) documentary”

  1. wzrd1 March 27, 2016 at 18:00 #

    Everyone’s entitled to foul up, then fix the foul up. 🙂
    Still, he may have declined to call it a false documentary to avoid litigation.
    After all, it is not out of character for antivaxers to engage in vexatious litigation.

  2. reissd March 27, 2016 at 18:18 #

    Yes, they shouldn’t have accepted it. But at least they made an effort to correct the error. Some damage was already done, though.

  3. Science Mom March 27, 2016 at 22:15 #

    Not that the AV’ers could follow this logic but what if Tribeca had rejected it from the start? Still cry “censorship”? But here’s the rub, De Niro made a personal, not professional decision to let this sorry excuse for a documentary enter his festival. Once he consulted with those actually responsible for making these decisions and representatives of the scientific community, professionalism prevailed. The Wakefraud worshippers can still watch their hero in action so what’s the complaint?

    • wzrd1 March 27, 2016 at 22:30 #

      Censorship only exists when a government is doing so within a nation, not when a private party decides what may and may not be included on private property.
      To do otherwise is to force people to host events in their own homes and businesses that they previously refused to.
      At a single venue, what is and is not permitted is the choice of the party holding that venue and is not a nationwide policy.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 28, 2016 at 18:45 #

      they *want* to label it as censorship. They want to build controversy around this. As always with them, truth takes a backseat to selling a message.

      “Wakefield cheated to get his film into Tribeca, but his film was junk so they pulled it” isn’t a message that sells.


  1. Vaxxed: From Coverup to Catastrophe to Cancellation to Insignificance – Violent metaphors - March 31, 2016

    […] come and gone and come again. Other people have written extensively about what happened, some with lots of facts and some with raging, paranoid fantasies. As the movie is likely to disappear into relative […]

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