Reminder: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism & This Is Not A Debate

Photographed by Jessica Nash.
Update: The Tribeca Film Festival's co-founder, Robert De Niro, announced that Andrew Wakefield's controversial film will be pulled from the festival. This story was originally published on March 25, 2016. In 1998, Andrew Wakefield published a study thinly linking the MMR vaccine to autism, which launched a media fearmongering frenzy. However, that link turned out to be 100% bullshit. The paper was later retracted, and Wakefield lost his U.K. medical license in 2010. But that certainly hasn't stopped his original dangerous idea from spreading over the years. And now, the Tribeca Film Festival believes Wakefield's latest movie, Vaxxed: From Cover-Up To Catastrophe, is worthy of a spot in its lineup. However, there are a few reasons why that's not a great idea (which are probably already obvious to you). Aside from spreading misinformation that may cost children's health and even their lives, the film provides continued credibility to someone whose research has been thoroughly debunked by other scientists. All of this is, of course, left out of the film's synopsis and Wakefield's bio on Tribeca's site. In response to criticisms like these, the festival released this statement: "Tribeca, as most film festivals, are about dialogue and discussion. Over the years we have presented many films from opposing sides of an issue. We are a forum, not a judge.” But that's the beautiful thing — you don't have to be a judge, Tribeca! Science has done the judging for you. Which means that, sorry, but this is not like arguing about brunch places or whether you're really buying the '70s trend. This isn't even like a lot of science, which often depends on cultural context and decades of related studies to come to any sort of conclusion. This is not up for debate. Instead, this is about fraudulent research and a discredited doctor who has been pushing a scaremongering agenda with no basis for nearly two decades now. And at this point, it's the responsibility of the media — including you, Tribeca — to get the story right, rather than give a dangerously flawed POV another forum it didn't deserve the first time around.

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