A year ago, Robert De Niro pulled the highly controversial anti-vaccine movie ‘VAXXED: From Cover Up To Controversy’ from the Tribeca film festival held in NYC.
It was a wise decision that was inspired by the outrage of the other filmmakers involved in the festival and applauded by the scientific community.
However, what happened next was disheartening.
Almost immediately following the announcement to exclude the film, De Niro publicly questioned the decision and, in doing so, lent support to the fraudulent and dangerous anti-vaccine movement. As a response, I wrote a letter to De Niro, offering to sit down and discuss the abundance of science behind herd immunity and the lack of science that links vaccines to autism.
One year later, the Cannes film festival is showing VAXXED - a movie in which the unlicensed, disgraced, ex-physician Andrew Wakefield presents a conspiracy theory that the United States government covered up the link between vaccines and autism.
We have written about this controversial movie before, happily pointing out that very few people actually went to see it. A review of the movie can be found here, in case you are interested but don’t want to have to sit through it.
Interestingly, the event was not set up by the organizers of the Cannes Film Festival, but by the film's distributor, Cinema Libre Studio. It is reported that they have also struck deals to screen VAXXED in China, several other European countries and potentially Syria, Mexico and the Netherlands.
In the meantime, Italy and Romania are in a full state of measles outbreaks, reaping the fallout of the damage that this film, its supporters, and the larger machine of the anti-vaxx movement, are doing to public health.
The screening is being held “secretly” - meaning that the location is not intended to be announced until the last minute. This is done in an effort to try to avoid the possibility of protesters showing up with signs, and potentially influencing the audience numbers. That said, if you happen to find yourself at The Cannes Film Festival today, May 25th, at Arcade 1 at 3:30 p.m. - bring a sign.