Robert De Niro Promotes All Kinds of Anti-Vaccination Nonsense in Wild Today Interview

Robert De Niro appeared Wednesday morning on The Today Show to talk about the Tribeca Film Festival, and to defend himself for personally lobbying for the inclusion of an anti-vaccination movie. The film, Vaxxed, was pulled from the schedule after an enormous shitstorm; De Niro said today he still wants to know “the truth” about vaccines and autism.

The truth is that vaccines do not cause autism, as study upon study has proved. They do not cause autism even for children at risk of developing autism. But De Niro, who has a son with autism, remains unconvinced, he told Today’s Savannah Guthrie: “I think the movie is something that people should see.” He said he hadn’t “fully explored” the backlash against the film, “and I will.”

Vaxxed was made by Andrew Wakefield, the discredited former gastroenterologist who authored a now-retracted study suggesting a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. De Niro defended him and the movie, while also suggesting everyone see another anti-vaccination film, Trace Amounts, which, again, features thoroughly debunked junk science about vaccines. Oh my God, Robert De Niro, what are you doing?

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“There’s a lot of information about things that are happening with the CDC, the pharmaceutical companies, there’s a lot of things that are not said,” De Niro added. “I, as a parent of a child who has autism, I’m concerned. And I want to know the truth. I’m not anti-vaccine. I want safe vaccines.”

Vaccines are extremely safe. Large, well-controlled CDC studies show that serious allergic reactions happen in less than one in 100,000 doses.

De Niro appeared alongside Tribeca producer Jane Rosenthal, who sat there smiling uncomfortably while the actor suggested that discussion was being “shut down” around the film. “Nobody seems to want to address” the issue of vaccine safety, De Niro added. “There’s more to this than meets the eye, believe me.”

De Niro said his wife believes their son, who has autism, “changed overnight” after being vaccinated. “I don’t remember. But my child is autistic, and every kid is different. But there’s something there, there’s something there that people aren’t addressing. And for me to get so upset here, on the Today show, with you guys, means there’s something there. That’s all I wanted, for the movie to be seen. You can make your own judgment. There are other films that document and show —it’s not such a simple thing.”

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The hosts gently asked De Niro if he knew there’s a broad scientific consensus that vaccines don’t cause autism.

“I believe it’s much more complicated,” he answered.

After being pulled from Tribeca, Vaxxed had a handful of screenings at the Angelika Film Center. A physician who reviewed the film called it “painfully inaccurate.”

Anna Merlan was a Senior Reporter at G/O Media until September 2019. She's the author of Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power.

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DISCUSSION

Guy with a Masters in Special Education and 17 years working with children with severe autism here: 1. Fuck you DeNiro, you degenerate piece of garbage. 2. The causes of autism are widely accepted as a mess of disparate factors.....the age of the father, a heightened level of testosterone in the mother, genetics ( a sibling of a twin who has autism is much more likely to have autism than non-twin siblings, and more. Also, and so important, 8 of 10 children with autism are boys, 80 percent. This number has not fluctuated. Following the vaccine theory, girls would be just as susceptible... but they are not. There is something inherently “male” about autism. We can safely say that we don’t know exactly why 1/88 children are now born on the spectrum, but it sure as Fuck ain’t vaccines.