Robert DeNiro is, without a doubt, one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. And even though Bobby is a man of few words in real life, the Academy Award winner is not backing down about his feelings on vaccinations -- and quite frankly doesn't care what you think. Recently, Robert DeNiro sparked controversy regarding autism and vaccinations on Today that, surprisingly, deserves a listen.
I know what you're thinking: Here we go again with another "crazy anti-vaxxer." But as Bobby D (that's what I call him in my head) says, he isn't "anti-vaccine" -- he just wants "safe vaccines." And I don't think there is anything wrong with that.
This whole crapstorm happened on the Today show when DeNiro, who is the father of a son with autism, spoke up about his frustrations with pulling the controversial documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe from his line-up at the Tribeca Film Festival. In case you don't know, Vaxxed is a film that aims to link the MMR vaccine to autism. It was directed by Andrew Wakefield, the former gastroenterologist whose autism study was discredited, retracted, and cited as an "elaborate fraud" -- but we'll leave that discussion for another day.
Needless to say, folks were outraged at the idea of such a film receiving publicity at the annual festival, which is likely why it got pulled.
As a mother of two little boys, who believes in vaccinations, I get the frustration. But, as much as I'm for protecting my children from preventable diseases, that doesn't mean I can't lend my ear to others who are against vaccinations -- or, at the very least, have a few questions for them.
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Robert DeNiro told Today:
There's a lot of information about things happening with the CDC, the pharmaceutical companies -- there's a lot of things that are not said. 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.
The Oscar winner also added:
It's about questioning how some people got autism, how the vaccines are dangerous if given to certain people -- and nobody seems to want to address that, because it's a closed issue.
All I wanted is for the movie to be seen. People can make their own judgment.
Let's just find out the truth.
While I don't agree with everything Robert DeNiro says about vaccinations, I do think he has a point in wanting the movie to be seen. Why can't we have a heart-to-heart conversation in the parenting world about vaccines, the pharmaceutical companies, and those moms and dads who strongly feel there's more to the debate than meets the eye -- or CDC report?
At the very least, I think such a discussion would (hopefully) empower folks on opposing sides to agree to disagree in a more cordial way -- instead of damning someone for something you don't agree with. In my opinion, vaccinations do and have saved lives, but that doesn't mean I'm not open to hearing more about the reasons why other parents choose not to vaccinate their kids.
After all, I think it's safe to say that parents in general love their children and have their best interests at heart. I've always been curious as to why some moms are anti-vaccinations -- especially given the rise of preventable diseases -- and, who knows, maybe this documentary would be a springboard for honest discussion.
Is that wrong?
Image via TODAY/YouTube