Tribeca Is Screening An Anti-Vaxx Doc Directed By Noted Fraud Andrew Wakefield

The Tribeca Film Festival kicks off on April 13, but the recently released line-up has got people really pissed off — with good reason. The film festival, which was founded in 2002 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in an attempt to revitalize downtown NYC after 9/11, usually has quite a few gems up its sleeve, but Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe is probably not one of them.*

The full description of the movie is as follows:

Digging into the long-debated link between autism and vaccines, Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe features revealing and emotional interviews with pharmaceutical insiders, doctors, politicians, parents, and one whistleblower to understand what’s behind the skyrocketing increase of autism diagnoses today.

Vaxxed is directed by Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who erroneously linked vaccines and autism in a paper published by The Lancet, which later retracted the study. Wakefield also lost his license to practice medicine in the UK, although he’s credited as “an academic gastroenterologist” on the official Tribeca film festival site. His bio mentions his report in The Lancet but conveniently leaves out its retraction, as well as the loss of his license to practice medicine.

A Tribeca rep told the Los Angeles Times, “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.” While the question of impartiality in documentary filmmaking itself is a discussion for another time, it stands to reason that film festival programmers can and should take into account that giving Vaxxed a place in its lineup lends the documentary, and in turn Wakefield’s beliefs, credence that it wouldn’t otherwise find. There will also be a Tribeca Talks: After the Movie panel with its filmmakers and subjects, which should be fun.

*Full disclosure: I have not seen Vaxxed and have been deleting press releases about it as quickly as they’ve arrived in my inbox, because my brain is full of garbage as it is. Call me when Errol Morris hooks Wakefield up to an Interrotron.