Target: Robert DeNiro
Goal: Praise actor Robert DeNiro for pulling an anti-vaccination conspiracy film from the Tribeca Film Festival.
A film spreading misinformation about vaccinations has been pulled from an important film festival thanks to immense pressure from both the scientific community and the general public. Actor and co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival Robert DeNiro had originally insisted on including the movie Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe in order to “show alternative viewpoints,” but just released a statement saying that he’s changed his mind.
The film in question purports to show a link between legally required vaccinations for young children and autism. It not only encourages people to risk their children’s lives by exposing them to potentially deadly diseases, it’s incredibly offensive to autistic people who don’t particularly feel like they’d rather be dead than have autism. Autism might make things more difficult in a society that refuses to accommodate them, but this film basically declares that it’s better to risk your children becoming ill and dying than risk them developing autism.
Scientists have confirmed multiple times that there is no link between vaccinations and autism, and the one study that suggests there is a connection was conducted by someone who clearly had a vested interest in getting those results. Plus, the anti-vaccination movement is weakening the herd immunity created by vaccines, leading to outbreaks in diseases previously thought eradicated and risking the lives of people who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons.
Spreading offensive and dangerous lies is not providing “an opportunity for conversation.” Legitimizing the anti-vaccination movement only puts more lives at risk and increases stigma against the autistic community. Sign to praise Robert DeNiro for doing the right thing.
Dear Mr. DeNiro,
Thank you for your recent decision to pull the anti-vaccination film Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe from the Tribeca Film Festival. I understand that you were attempting to open up a conversation, but it sounds like you did more research into the issue after people spoke out against the film and what you found changed your mind. This was a responsible course of action that could help from spreading dangerous lies.
Children have already fallen ill and died because of the decrease in people immunizing their kids. Plus, this particular film makes it sound like it’s better to be dead than be autistic, which increases the sometimes deadly social stigma against people with autism. And as you probably discovered, the anti-vaccination movement is based on bad science and lies.
Dangerous misinformation should not be included in any social or scientific conversation. I thank you for pulling this film from the festival that you co-founded.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jim Gathany