Vaxxed: Robert De Niro withdraws controversial anti-vaccine documentary from Tribeca Film Festival

The actor defended the film just days ago

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The Independent Culture

There has been mounting pressure on Robert De Niro to withdraw an anti-vaccination documentary from the Tribeca Film Festival line-up.

After days of deliberation and a statement defending the controversial film, Vaxxed: From Cover-Up To Catastrophe will no longer show at the festival.

Previously, De Niro said of the documentary, which attempts to show a link between vaccines and autism: “I am not personally endorsing the film, nor am I anti-vaccination; I am only providing the opportunity for a conversation around the issue.”

However, in a more recent statement to the BBC, the actor said: "We have concerns with certain things in this film.”

After reviewing Vaxxed with fellow festival organisers, as well as scientists, they concluded that the film does not contribute to the discussion over vaccinations in the way they’d like it too.

Vaxxed is directed by Andrew Wakefield, a former British doctor whose 1998 study linking MMR vaccinations and autism was discredited and retracted from medical journal The Lancet. He was subsequently struck off the medical register after being found guilty of fraud.

Wakefield, who has previously described it as a ‘whistle-blower documentary’, said in a statement following the decision that he and producer Del Bigtree has “just witnessed yet another example of the power of corporate interests censoring free speech, art and truth".

In recent years, many actors have taken controversial stances on vaccinations, including Jim Carrey who has campaigned against vaccine legislation on numerous occasions.