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.
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