De Niro Gets to Have the Anti-Vaccine Discussion He Wanted on Today Show | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

Robert De Niro on Wednesday defended the notion that vaccines are linked to autism, resurfacing a discredited notion based on false science.


The star appeared on the “Today” show to promote the Tribeca Film Festival, which he helped found. But the segment was dominated by controversy over an anti-vaccination film called “Vaxxed,” which the festival pulled from this year’s program after a public outcry (see here).


The film was directed by discredited scientist-turned-activist Andrew Wakefield. At the time of its removal, De Niro had said that the film would not provide the conversation-starter he had hoped for. But in the interview Wednesday, he admitted that part of him regretted removing the film from the schedule. “As a parent of a child who has autism, I’m concerned,” he said. “And I want to know the truth. And I’m not anti-vaccine. I want safe vaccines.”


“There’s a lot of information about things that are happening with the CDC, the pharmaceutical companies, there are a lot of things that aren’t said,” De Niro said.


Even as Guthrie and cohost Willie Geist pointed out that there is no scientific evidence of a link between vaccines and autism, De Niro dug in his heels. “It’s much more complicated than that. There is a link, and they’re saying there isn’t,” he said.