Bowing to intense pressure from scientists and others, the Tribeca Film Festival halted plans to show a documentary about the debunked link between vaccines and autism.
The film was directed and co-written by Andrew Wakefield, whose study connecting vaccines and autism was published in the medical journal The Lancet but then retracted in 2010, The New York Times reported.
Wakefield's medical license was later revoked because he did not reveal financial conflicts of interest and ethics violations.
The decision to pull the film, "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe," from next month's film festival was announced Saturday and explained in a statement released by festival co-founder Robert De Niro.
"My intent in screening this film was to provide an opportunity for conversation around an issue that is deeply personal to me and my family. But after reviewing it over the past few days with the Tribeca Film Festival team and others from the scientific community, we do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for," De Niro said.
While the film festival eventually made the correct decision, it's troubling that a film promoting "discredited ideas" came so close to being shown at a prestigious event, Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told The Times.
"It gave these fraudulent ideas a face and a position and an energy that many of us thought they didn't deserve," he said. "We're all for ongoing reasonable debate and discussion, but these are ideas that have been proven to be incorrect many, many, many times over the past 15 years."