A few hours ago, Robert De Niro discussed the documentary movie Vaxxed in a live interview on the Today show in the USA. The controversial documentary was axed from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival that the Academy award winning actor and parent of an autistic son jointly founded following an online uproar.
It seems the words attributed to De Niro after the film was pulled from Tribeca, “We do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for,” were not his own. Evidence of external influences have been mooted.
De Niro admits on the Today show to not being happy that Vaxxed was pulled and he now implores people to see the film. When his interviewers asked him about the apparent scientific consensus that there was no link between autism and MMR, he responded saying “it’s more complicated”. We would agree. It’s a lot more complicated.
Watch Robert De Niro on Today show, 13 April 2016
Press reports are already rolling in criticising De Niro for his seemingly renewed support for Vaxxed. Most of these reports use Andrew Wakefield as the punch bag.
Entertainment Weekly, for example, states: “The doc was directed by Andrew Wakefield, a British doctor who erroneously claimed vaccines caused autism and was later stripped of his medical license. His findings were first published in British medical journal The Lancet in 1998, but were later proven false and discredited.”
Sadly, this oft-quoted view is both misleading and incorrect. The findings of Wakefield and his 13 co-authors that autism and associated gastrointestinal symptoms were associated with MMR vaccination in some children was not the finding of the scientists. These findings were instead the reported observations of the parents of 8 out of 12 of the children studied. These reported observations have never been proven false or discredited.
Investigative writer, sociologist and health advocate, Martin Walker, has written the most comprehensive accounts of what actually happened to Wakefield and two other doctors when they were put on trial by a ‘fitness to practise’ disciplinary panel of the General Medical Council (GMC). Walker’s understanding comes from the his attendance of every day of the GMC hearing over its 3 year duration. The GMC revoked both Wakefield’s and Prof John Walker-Smith’s licenses. Prof Walker-Smith won a subsequent appeal against the GMC and retained his medical license. The other doctor, Prof Simon Murch, was cleared by the GMC.
Before you buy the idea that Wakefield was discredited or disgraced, as widely communicated by the world’s media, we implore you to read Martin Walker’s summary and other articles. You may also wish to learn more about Brian Deer and GMC conflicts of interest. Deer was the Sunday Times journalist who, in 2004, kicked off the complaint that started Andy Wakefield’s torrid journey with the GMC.
All of this background will likely help you be in a better position to understand why Robert De Niro chose to speak out. He’s bothered to investigate – possibly motivated, as De Niro himself alludes in the Today interview, by his wife’s recollection that their son changed overnight after being vaccinated. Let’s hope De Niro has even a fraction of the staying power of Andrew Wakefield. The pressure on him will be intense.
Show your support via social media
Please show your support via twitter or other social media. Relevant Twitter addresses include those for Robert de Niro at @NewYorkTribeca, Andrew Wakefield at @DrWakefield and the producers, Del Bigtree @delbigtree and Polly Tommey @PollyTommey, the latter being Founder of Autism Trust UK/USA, Editor In Chief of Autism File magazine and Director of Autism Media Channel.
Andrew and Polly have been in the trenches with this issue for years, but De Niro and Bigtree will be less used to the massive attacks that they will endure simply for holding a position that is not in line with some of the most powerful and corrupt forces responsible for the overuse, misuse and unnecessary use of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines.
An example tweet you could post on your twitter wall is as follows (please edit as you wish):
Grateful for stand on free speech made by De Niro and makers of #Vaxxed @NewYorkTribeca @DrWakefield @delbigtree @PollyTommey #MMRAutism
Alternatively, you can go onto their respective Twitter pages and tweet each individually. If you support them, let them know – it will make a difference.