2015 was the year that some of the dangerous effects of the anti-vaccine movement began to manifest in fresh outbreaks of diseases like measles. So clearly 2016 should be the year an anti-vaccine documentary is screened at one of the country's premiere film festivals.
The Tribeca Film Festival is taking heat for its planned screening of Vaxxed: From Coverup to Catastrophe, a documentary promoting the long-debunked link between vaccines and autism.
The festival's website describes Vaxxed like this:
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.
Calling the link between vaccines and autism "long-debated" is a bit like saying "One Direction band member Zayn Malik." Both have been over for a long time. If the Centers for Disease Control's plainly titled "Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism" webpage doesn't convince you, maybe this comic will.
If the festival were showing some new evidence of the link, that might be a different story. But the first person listed as behind the documentary is Andrew Wakefield.
Wakefield's bio mentions his report in The Lancet, but what it doesn't mention is that that The Lancet issued a formal retraction for that study six years ago. Wakefield's work has been widely discredited among researchers, but that hasn't harmed his credibility in the anti-vaccine movement.
The documentary and Wakefield's appearance have not gone unnoticed, and criticism over the scheduled screening and Q&A has been strong.
So far, the Festival's only comment has been the following tweet.
It's nice to have opposing viewpoints, but it's hard to register an opinion if you're sick with a disease that should've been wiped out decades ago.