Tribeca Film Festival Pulls Controversial Anti-Vaccination Doc from Festival Schedule

Tribeca Film Festival Pulls Controversial Anti-Vaccination Doc from Festival Schedule

In an unprecedented move, the Tribeca Film Festival has pulled the controversial anti-vaccination documentary "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe" from its schedule. 

The film’s director, Andrew Wakefield, is a former UK surgeon and medical researcher. He is best known for a 1998 research paper, later declared fraudulent, that claimed a link between vaccination and autism. Other researchers couldn’t replicate the findings; later, a Sunday Times investigation found financial conflicts of interest, and the British General Medical Council investigated multiple allegations of misconduct.  

READ MORE: Tribeca Film Festival Under Fire for Premiering New Documentary from ‘Quack’ Anti-Vaccine Doctor  

In a statement, Tribeca co-founder Robert DeNiro said: 

"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."

The film came under repeated attack in the last week in the press and in the documentary community. Filmmaker Penny Lane directed a doc about the Depression-era quack Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, "NUTS," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and penned an open letter that said, in part: 

"A lot of people, including those who buy tickets to see docs at your festival, believe documentary film has become an important form of news. But journalists are expected to tell the truth – or at least not knowingly spread dangerous lies. Your choice to include Vaxxed in your documentary lineup – a lineup including films about abortion, Syrian refugees, solitary confinement, the American electoral system, in-vitro fertilization and drone warfare – suggests that you think documentary filmmakers can’t be held even to the latter standard. This threatens the credibility of not just the other filmmakers in your doc slate, but the field in general.

So yes, I take this personally."

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My husband had the 1976 flu shot that ruined his health. I believe by not showing it you have begged people to see it. The opposite of your intentions. Nobody is gonna believe the pharmaceuticals and CDC are not cozy.

Valerie Rushing

The movie was approved-end of story. What other reason autism is getting out of control



"I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race. Vaccines prevent serious diseases, and the risks associated with their administration are vastly outweighed by their individual and societal benefits."


Why does the U.S. government pay from a vaccine reparation fund to people who are damaged or killed as a result of vaccines? Some of those reparations went to children who developed autism. Check out the Autism Research Institute – they can show you videos of children BEFORE they were vaccinated behaving and developing normally; after the vaccination and some years later after biological treatments and interventions. A personal friend who is an MD says her son was fine until he received one of his shots. She has no doubt it was the vaccine. When I was ready for school, I received two shots: one for smallpox and another for diptheria. Today, children receive more than 30 shots before they enter school. Too much of a good thing!!


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Suzi, please provide links to these studies so they can be read and evaluated.

Lucy Moran

As both a filmmaker and a engaged libertarian, I’m beyond disappointed in De Niro. This film would have been a beast at the festival–sure to engage two very different sets of people: those that entrust BigPharma blindly, and those that do not.

For everyone crying about "Dr. Wakefield," This film is more about the CDC Whistleblower Dr. William Thompson who’s been granted immunity by Obama, and is waiting to testify before congress–if asked. He’s admitted to, while at the CDC, covering up evidence of a link between autism and the MMR vaccine.

Rumor has it American Express pressured De Niro to drop the film. Shame on them.


I am so disappointed, Raging Bull wimps out.


It’s disappointing to see Tribeca caving in to unfavorable press regarding Wakefield’s work. Just because someone else couldn’t replicate his work doesn’t mean it’s invalid. One needs to certify that those doing the discrediting are not either receiving funding from the pharmaceutical businesses nor are they working for these industries. I have heard MANY, MANY mothers and fathers tell of their sad, situations with either dead children as a result of vaccines or children horribly disabled as a result of vaccines. Stand up and be tall and show this film! Tribeca is taking an inappropriate stand when, as a festival, it should rather be a platform for work to be shown – not a judge. Let the audiences decide; let the critics and/or proponents slug it out. It’s deeply saddening when members of the film community turn into censors – screw up your courage and do the right thing. As a film producer, myself, this entire situation is disheartening to the filmmakers who are trying to tell the truth – the truth the drug and pharmaceutical industries don’t want to be leaked out. Every time there’s a new flu or virus outbreak. the drug companies make billions of dollars. There are other ways of handling disease than vaccines, and families should be able to avail themselves of these options. Unfortunately, most of the homeopathic or "natural" remedies are not patentable, nor do they produce billions of dollars in revenues. Also, have you followed what happened with the CDC whistleblower, who revealed to the press that the CDC DID KNOW certain vaccines should not be administered at the young age they were being prescribed for? Before becoming a silencer, it would behoove Tribeca to dig in and do a little research on the other side of the vaccine story – speak to the doctors (most in foreign countries because they’re too afraid to speak out here – unless they’re retired) – but there are numbers of doctors, who feel vaccines should not be prescribed nor commanded to be given on a whole scale basis. Let audiences see this film – we all might learn something new.

Michael Paul Goldenberg

Wakefield is a fraud whose "work" has been thoroughly discredited. I don’t agree with censorship, but there is such a thing as making reasonable judgments among possible films of any sort for a festival. Naturally, the anti-vaxxer fringe community (Hi, Suzi!) will throw out the usual hysterical and undocumented bilge that scares the bejeezus out of the ignorant. But they never talk about how many innocent children die or are seriously harmed by PREVENTABLE diseases due to the lunacy of not vaccinating. The horror stories continue and those responsible refuses to accept any blame for the destruction they’re causing.


@ Suzi: I seriously doubt that there were 49 "independent studies" that backed Wakefield’s thesis. If so, I suspect that were bogus since you didn’t even refer to one by name that backed his thesis. Wakefield has done ample damage by convincing naive parents that vaccinations cause autism, which has led to once diminished diseases such measles to spread again. Now, he want spread his new disinformation via a propaganda film. BTW, why isn’t it censorship that Tribeca didn’t initially alert the public about his previous fraud on the public?


Good statement by filmmaker Penny Lane that puts the responsibilities of documentary filmmakers in a very clear light.


The slight stench that sometimes rises from film festival final selections has become a foul odor in the 2016 TFF thanks to a broken documentary that reminds us unbalanced advocacy can become infomercial. The problem is the selection process. It needs to be more about the filmmaking, not what will fill seats and generate press. Just based on the number of films submitted to each festival each year (in the thousands), there would be no shortage of entertaining, informative films worthy of local press coverage among the films passed over. All festivals need to be more open. A call for entries should include a breakdown of slots already guaranteed to distributors, sales reps, festival alumni, festival friends, festival celebrity friends and the remaining, truly open slots for outside filmmakers should be revealed. All names of all festival screeners and their credentials should be posted. If a screener works with more than one festival it should be revealed. Twitter and Facebook postings could be used to chart the process. Just as in politics, getting the money out of festivals will only help. Yes, it’s called show “business” but with festivals it should always be called filmmaking. I am asking the TFF to return the entrance fee I paid this year. Other filmmakers who submitted and didn’t get in should consider doing the same.


Really? I want to see the film. Whether you agree with it or not is not the issue. Who are you to sensor what we/I can see. This is exactly what is wrong in Hollywood, you all think you are smarter than us "average working joe" citizens. So it is OK for you to show your documentary, but not for them to show theirs. This is seriously a disgusting show of pure censorship at the highest level and shame on the Festival for cowering in the face of this controversy. Shameful!


49 studies kids….INDEPENDENT. Not bought. Not brainwashed drivel such as "I’m taking this personally". Guess what? The parents of vaccine damaged and dead children take it a wee bit more personal than you do.


There are over 49 INDEPENDENT (not by the people making the money from the vaccines in case you didn’t get that whole independent thing) studies proving Dr. Wakefield was correct. His partner was fully exonerated. This is rather book burning type censorship. So Fahrenheit 451 is where we are now?




Good. Wakefield can show his film at a more hospitable venue: the Republican Party convention in Cleveland.

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