If you don’t want to go through this whole article, and just want the most interesting bit here it is–Wakefield has responded to the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) pulling his film. Wakefield had pulled strings somehow to get Robert De Niro (who founded TFF) to push TFF to accept the film. Immediately after it became public that Wakefield’s film was “selected” for TFF, criticism rained down from all over the world. In is defense, Wakefield brought in a sitting member of the U.S. House of Representatives to lobby to keep the film in. Now that the film has been officially pulled, Wakefield is decrying the “lack of due process” afforded him.
One wonders, doesn’t one, how legitimate film makers whose films were both accepted and rejected by TFF are swallowing that bit of irony. I mean, this is the first time in the history of the TFF that De Niro forced a film into the lineup. And, yeah, having a Member of Congress spend an hour talking to De Niro? I’m sure each and every budding film maker brought her/his own Member of Congress into the process right?
Lack of due process? Really? Wakefield had the temerity to decry a lack of due process? Wakefield would never have been in TFF if he had believed in and practiced the actual “due process” of applying, being good, being selected.
The irony is thick. As it so often is with Andrew Wakefield.
Now to what I wrote–
What are some of the classic traits we’ve come to know from Andrew Wakefield? First, he’s a martyr who suffers for the cause, but the rock of strength. He tells us he’s lost everything, his job, his career, his country…heck, there’s even a film out there where he talks to a mirror and tells us he’d gladly die for the children. I find this imagery rather difficult to accept given the size of his house from his Austin days (5900 square feet, one of four properties listed in the Austin area as owned by the Wakefields) and $270k/year base salary (my guess significantly higher than “academic gastroenterologists” make in the UK). But more to the point, why did he keep half the money from his autism research charity as his salary? But, again, it seems one can’t watch Wakefield speak without hearing about how strong he is and how much he’s given up for the cause.
Given how he frames himself, his response to having his film pulled by Tribeca was pretty much true to form:
To our dismay, we learned today about the Tribeca Film Festival’s decision to reverse the official selection of Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe.
Robert De Niro’s original defense of the film happened Friday after a one-hour conversation between De Niro and Bill Posey, the congressman who has interacted directly and at length with the CDC Whistleblower (William Thompson) and whose team has scrutinized the documents that prove fraud at the CDC.
It is our understanding that persons from an organization affiliated with the festival have made unspecified allegations against the film – claims that we were given no opportunity to challenge or redress. We were denied due process.
We have just witnessed yet another example of the power of corporate interests censoring free speech, art, and truth.
Tribeca’s action will not succeed in denying the world access to the truth behind the film Vaxxed.
We are grateful to the many thousands of people who have already mobilized including doctors, scientists, educators and the autistic community.
We will be pressing forward and sharing our plans in the very near future.
– Andrew Wakefield (Director) and Del Bigtree (Producer)
We get the whole “we are the downtrodden” while at the same time “we are strong” messages. He claims wide support, including bringing to bear a sitting member of the U.S. House of Representatives while decrying “the power of corporate interests censoring free speech, art, and truth.”
As always, check every word Wakefield says.
First off, here’s a HUGE irony. Giant. He tells us he was denied “due process”. What is due process in a film festival? You submit your work and get it judged on a level playing field along with every other submission. What did Wakefield do? He pulled strings and got Robert De Niro to personally select VAXXED for the festival. He jumped the queue, possibly pushing some worthy selection out, and now he’s crying about due process?
Classic Wakefield. Absolute classic.
Was Bill Posey involved with the original push to get this film included in TFF? We don’t know, but we know that Bill Posey was involved with keeping it in, at least for a day.
How many other film makers pull that sort of pressure to get their films into Tribeca? But it’s Wakefield who was denied “due process”. But, hey, his movement is strong. They have a Member of Congress on their side. And Mr. Posey has received donations as a nice thank you for his support over the years.
Mr. Wakefield tells us about Representative Posey’s office “..whose team has scrutinized the documents that prove fraud at the CDC”. Nice phrasing there. Wakefield doesn’t come out and actually say that Posey’s office has claimed that the documents prove fraud, but the causal reader might not catch that.
By the way, the documents don’t show fraud. Everyone can read the documents now. Andrew Wakefield was given many, if not all, of the Thompson documents and never made them public. I remain grateful to Representative Posey’s office for providing those documents to me, and I did make them public. Mr. Wakefield carefully controlled information. I welcome people checking my facts.
Wakefield tells us “It is our understanding that persons from an organization affiliated with the festival have made unspecified allegations against the film”
Unless he’s been hiding behind a rock, there’s also been a media storm of very specific allegations against the film. There’s also the fact that Wakefield’s story surrounding William Thompson doesn’t hold up. There’s also the fact that Wakefield classifies his film as a “documentary” but within the first 30 seconds of the trailer he left facts behind.
What’s then interesting to read is that he moves from “an organization affiliated with the festival” to “the power of corporate interests censoring free speech, art, and truth”
So it’s either a group working with the Tribeca Film Festival, or it’s corporate interests”. And, here’s the thing, Tribeca is a private enterprise. They get to pick what is shown under their name. Declining or removing a film from their list is not censorship. Any more than it would be censorship if I asked Wakefield to host all of my writings about him on his “about” page and he declined my request.
And, if this film is like the others Mr. Wakefield has produced, “art” is not a term I would associate with it. Nor is the word “truth”.
Now, here’s a great turn of phrase:
“Tribeca’s action will not succeed in denying the world access to the truth behind the film Vaxxed”
See what he did there? He made a simple, “this isn’t a film we want to show. Go somewhere else with it” from Tribeca into a sinister act by Tribeca to keep the world from seeing this film.
Nice job, Wakefield. You are making it clear to Tribeca that they were right. Who at Tribeca even thinks they hold such power as you seem to claim? I’ll give you a hint: no one.
Wakefield closes with a claim of far reaching support. Even within the “autistic community”. The term “autistic community” usually refers to the community of actually autistic people. That is a community that has little love nor offers support to Wakefield. That aside, Wakefield never tells people that even among autism parents, the majority do not believe that vaccines might be a cause of autism. This study put vaccines well behind genetics and the “will of God”. Other have put the fraction of parents who believe vaccines could be a cause as low as 20%. And saying, “sure it could be possible” is very different from “I believe this is what caused my child’s autism”.
Wakefield’s following is far too large, but it isn’t actually that large.
But all this said, let’s bring this back to the biggest irony of Wakefield’s response–his outrage at the lack of “due process”.
Yeah, all he had was Robert De Niro picking this film for TFF. And an hour of a sitting Member of Congress lobbying Mr. De Niro. We weep for the lack of opportunity Wakefield had, don’t we?
By Matt Carey