Robert De Niro has recently caused a stir by including an anti-vaccination documentary in the Tribeca Film Festival. The 72-year-old actor defended his decision despite surrounding controversy, claiming that he felt a personal connection to the subject matter, and that it is an issue that deserves discussion.
Claiming that the issue is "very personal" to his family, Robert explained why he made the decision to have the documentary Vaxxed: From Cover Up to Catastrophe added to the festival.
The documentary, which was created by anti-vaccine leader Andrew Wakefield, explores the possible link between vaccines and autism, and it's inclusion at the Tribeca Film Festival has been strongly opposed by those who feel that screening the documentary at the festival could be seen as endorsing it's controversial message.
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Robert has stated that he pushed for the documentary to be included in the festival
As the co-owner of the festival, Robert claims he made the decision to include the documentary despite great opposition as it is an important issue for himself, his wife Grace and their 18-year-old son Elliot.
In a statement, he said: "Grace and I have a child with autism and we believe it is critical that all of the issues surrounding the causes of autism be openly discussed and examined."
Robert has denied supporting anti-vaccination
In the 15 years since the Tribeca Film Festival was founded, I have never asked for a film to be screened or gotten involved in the programming. However, this is very personal to me and my family and I want there to be a discussion, which is why we will be screening Vaxxed."
He continued: "I am not personally endorsing the film, nor am I anti-vaccination; I am only providing the opportunity for a conversation around the issue."