I am hesitant to write this. Not hesitant because I have any doubts that the actions of Cinema Libre Studios and Andrew Wakefield’s team are wrong. No, hesitant because it has all the hallmarks of people trolling for attention and free publicity. I do not like giving people like Andrew Wakefield or Cinema Libre Studio attention.
That said, I can’t let that stop me from speaking out. In this case Cinema Libre Studios, who are distributing the faux documentary “Vaxxed”, have sent a letter to Fiona O’Leary threatening legal action:
As you can read, the letter is not just on behalf of Cinema Libre, it is also on behalf of Andrew Wakefield, Polly Tommey and Del Bigtree (the main voices promoting “Vaxxed” and it’s misinformation).
Philipe Diaz (Cinema Libre Studios CEO) demands that Fiona not only “cease and desist from interfering with distribution of the film” (while giving no examples of actions of her interfering), but also demands that she “cease and desist…from making any statement to any person with regard to the film, Cinema Libre Studio and/or Autism Media Channel, its agents, representatives and/or employees, including Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Del Bigtree and Polly Tommey.”
Apparently Philipe Diaz is not above hypocrisy. Recall that the marketing campaign for Vaxxed relied heavily upon their ouster from the Tribeca Film Festival. They erroneously claimed that Tribeca “censored” Vaxxed and that Vaxxed is “the film they don’t want you to see”.
So, a film festival chooses which films to give laurels to (and which to not give laurels to) and this is “censorship” and bad. But someone criticizes the film and the film makers and this is grounds for legal action.
In case you weren’t aware, Fiona O’Leary is an autistic adult. She is the parent of 5, two of whom are autistic.
What is the most common theme you will hear from Andrew Wakefield? That’s right, “listen to the parents. The parents are right.”
Well, except for the majority of us who disagree with Wakefield. Then we parents are ignored or even threatened, right Andy?
When Vaxxed was rightfully removed from the Tribeca Film Festival and other festivals, Philipe Diaz erroneously called those actions “… a slap in the face to the First Amendment.” But when faced with criticism, Diaz demands silence.
Since you apparently don’t understand free speech, let’s explain this one to you, Mr. Diaz. Tribeca didn’t try to stop you showing your film everywhere. They just said that your film would not get shown at Tribeca and get Tribeca Laurels. Just as if you were responsible enough to have not picked up Vaxxed and not put Cinema Libre’s name on it, that wouldn’t be an infringement of free speech.
Telling someone they can’t even talk about you, your company or your clients…that’s a clear attempt to quash free speech.
Polly Tommey, so you won’t judge parents who murder their autistic children, but you will have your distributor send letters threatening legal action to parents who don’t agree with you?
There’s an example of someone who has their priorities mixed up.
Del Bigtree, song-and-dance man turned pitch-man for bad advocacy and science. You are basically branding “Be Brave” within your little community. Pat yourself on the back, Del, you are so brave. Threatening legal action against an autistic parent of autistic children. Don’t respond to criticism, use lawyers to try to quash it.
OK, Del, be brave. Start discovery now. Send Fiona the financial records for Vaxxed to show her how she could be harming your business. Send her all your group’s communications about Vaxxed and about Fiona so she can see that this isn’t just retaliation. That would be brave.
I don’t think you have the guts. You stand behind your studio and lawyers and send threats and demands. Hell, you didn’t even have the guts to apologize for telling people “now’s the time” for guns.
And to both of you–Bigtree and Tommey–at the end of your nonpology video you thank your followers for stopping an article in the Sunday Times. Really? So the whole “pot calling the kettle black” thing you have going here with faux censorship is a pattern?
You want “be brave”? How about standing up to an unreasonable threat? Because that’s exactly what Fiona did:
Team Wakefield, you could learn a lot from Fiona.
By Matt Carey