Robert de Niro Reveals He Pushed for Anti-Vaccine Documentary at Tribeca Film Festival


Robert De Niro attends a screening of the movie “Joy” on Dec. 14, 2015, in New York City. (Credit: Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)

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The battle over an anti-vaccine movie at the Tribeca Film Festival took a fresh turn Friday, as festival co-founder Robert De Niro revealed that he was the one who drove the decision to screen the divisive film.

A controversy has brewed since Tuesday, when the Los Angeles Times revealed that a Tribeca selection called “Vaxxed” was a documentary by the polarizing anti-vaccine leader Andrew Wakefield and that Wakefield would attend the gathering. Many asked how a prestigious festival could host Wakefield, who is hated by many in the scientific community for what they allege is spreading false information and spurring a dangerous anti-vaccine trend.

De Niro said it was he who wanted the film to play Tribeca.

“Grace and I have a child with autism and we believe it is critical that all of the issues surrounding the causes of autism be openly discussed and examined,” he said, referring to his wife and their child Elliot, in a statement sent to reporters Friday.

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