"This year’s Tribeca Film Festival will include a screening of a film by Andrew Wakefield, the former doctor who was stripped of his medical license after authoring a discredited study that implied a link between vaccines and autism," wrote Anna Merlan. "A spokesperson for the film tells Jezebel that there will be 'celebrity support' for the film at the screening."
"Wakefield," she continued, "claims the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration are ignoring a link between vaccines and autism, especially among African American boys. That claim has been extensively debunked."
Oh really. The piece is one of those tarred-by-association things, the implication being that Tribeca is inviting in a crank. Kind of like those articles you see that say "Rand Paul [or whoever questioned vaccine orthodoxy in any given news cycle] once belonged to an organization of doctors that once suggested that something once happened to a child who got 27 vaccines at once. That suggestion has been widely debunked."
But it looks like the festival isn't going to fold, offering this perfectly sensible statement: “Tribeca, as most film festivals, are about dialogue and discussion. Over the years we have presented many films from opposing sides of an issue. We are a forum, not a judge.”
Let's remember that Jezebel is a sister publication of Gawker, which just lost its shirt, and every other shirt in the known and all possible universes, by believing it was newsworthy to air a video of Hulk Hogan having sex with his best friend's wife. The hundred-million-plus verdict will probably put the whole outfit out of business, and even as a journalist it's hard to feel too bad for an entity whose editor testified thusly, according to the New York Post:
A.J. Daulerio, 41, was sitting ramrod straight in the Florida courtroom during the awkward moment when he was asked on video by Hogan’s lawyer, “Can you imagine a situation where a celebrity sex tape would not be newsworthy?”
Daulerio answered flatly, “If they were a child.”
“Under what age?” attorney Charles Harder asked.
“Four,” he said.
“No four-year-old sex tapes, OK,” Harder said.
But back to Andy Wakefield. The comment section on the story was typically vitriolic and downright goofy. And -- warning -- these are hip young people of today and they use dirty swear and cuss words that are used by the cool hip people of today who no longer care what their parents think of their language as of right now this minute, so there! (My comments in italic.)
-- "do you think he GETS it? do you think he understands the harm? and if so, does he just not give a fuck (making him evil as fuck)? or if he DOESN’T get it, does he just believe his own “science”?
"i can’t decide which is worse..."
(I think he believes his own science, which is correct.)
-- "Well, the evil Zionist Bilderberg Group has concocted Malthusian plans in order to subtly control the population of the subject humanoids. In this way, the lizardmen can more easily destroy our weakened militaries. Ten years after each human is afflicted with autism and the CIA-invented AIDS virus, the ships from Vega move in and they repurpose our existing infrastructure to suit their needs. Only the most powerful Freemasons are allowed to participate in the new society, while the rest of us are swiftly exterminated."
(I think this is meant satirically, but I can't be sure. Given that there are no pro-Wakefield comments, I suspect it is.)
-- "He needs to die of a vaccination-preventable illness."
(I vote for a lethal case of chicken pox!)
-- "Actually I would use murderer in that analogy. Little old ladies that are racist are usually harmless to other people, not nice to be around, but generally harmless. A anti vaxxer can kill someone."
(An vaxxer can murder the English language!)
--" Oh my god I hope they can stop this from happening. My nephew is autistic and members of my family grasp at straws looking for reasons and vaccines always come up. “It changed him”, they say. Now they don’t want to vaccinate anymore and it’s harmful to kids who CAN’T be vaccinated and there’s no amount of actual science I can show them that will make them feel otherwise because OF THIS ASSHOLE"
This was posted by the Duchess of Dork -- her words, not mine.
So anyway, I thought I would post a benign and polite comment, which I almost never do (post comments, that is). It was this -- close but not verbatim: "I think this will be a really wonderful film and I can't wait to see it. Ideally it will convince more parents that vaccines are driving the autism epidemic."
I was pretty sure that to Jezebel, that would sound so naively stupid and not hip and edgy that they might run it just to set off more ridicule, especially since I used my real discredited name. They didn't. If I thought they had any money left or would be around after approximately next Tuesday, I'd think about suing. (Not really. I am not a asshole!)
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.