Filmmaker Andrew Wakefield’s documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe has been officially pulled from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Robert De Niro and the festival had been criticized for including the controversial film to begin with. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, De Niro defended his decision to pull the film:
“My intent in screening this film was to provide an opportunity for conversation around an issue that is deeply personal to me and my family. But after reviewing it over the past few days with the Tribeca Film Festival team and others from the scientific community, we do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for. The Festival doesn’t seek to avoid or shy away from controversy. However, we have concerns with certain things in this film that we feel prevent us from presenting it in the Festival program. We have decided to remove it from our schedule.”
While De Niro didn’t initially endorse the film, he had originally defended the decision to include it stating “we believe it is critical that all the issues surrounding the causes of autism be openly discussed and examined.” Wakefield, a former surgeon, has been at the center of much of the anti-vaccination controversy in recent years, as his research connecting vaccines to autism was discredited.