Robert De Niro Talks Autism and Vaccines: "I Want to Know the Truth"
After removing the anti-vaccine doc 'Vaxxed' from the lineup for the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, which kicks off today, co-founder Jane Rosenthal said filmmakers were threatening to pull out of the event over the movie.
Robert De Niro may have decided to pull the anti-vaccine documentary Vaxxed from the lineup for the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, which kicks off today, but the actor isn't done talking about the possible connection between autism and vaccines and insists the film should be seen.
Appearing on Wednesday's Today show alongside festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal to talk about the event, De Niro got fired up talking about the backlash to Vaxxed.
"I think the movie is something that people should see. There was a backlash that I haven't fully explored and I will. But I didn't want it to start affecting the festival in ways I couldn't see," said De Niro. "But definitely there's something to that movie, and there's another movie called Trace Amounts. There's a lot of information about things that are happening with the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], the pharmaceutical companies. There's a lot of things that are not said."
De Niro indicated he wanted further investigation and exploration into the causes of autism. "I, as a parent of a child who has autism, am concerned, and I want to know the truth," he said. "I'm not anti-vaccine. I want safe vaccines. Some people can't get a certain type of shot and they can die from it — even penicillin. … If you're scientists, let's see, let's hear. Everybody doesn't seem to want to hear much about it. It's shut down, and you guys [the media] are the ones that should be investigating it."
Recalling how people, including his wife, have said they saw their children "change overnight" or "I saw what happened and I should have done something and I didn't," De Niro said, "There's more to this than meets the eye, believe me."
The actor continued: "There is something there, …something there that people aren’t addressing. And for me to get so upset here, today, on the Today show with you guys means there’s something there. All I wanted was the movie to be seen. People can make their own judgment, but you must see it.”
Rosenthal also explained that filmmakers were threatening to pull out of the festival over the decision to screen the doc, something De Niro also seemed upset about.
"It was like a knee-jerk reaction, especially from the filmmakers, frankly, that … I didn't even want to ask," he said. "But now I will ask."
Rosenthal, who claimed the fest has "equally controversial" movies still in its lineup, also seemed to feel that Vaxxed had been given more than enough attention.
"Clearly the festival has about a hundred other movies that are in the festival," she said. "This was only going to be screened once. They've certainly had their voice and their time."