A documentary screening from the man who started the anti-vaxx hysteria was pulled in the UK
Wakefield attended one of President Trump's inaugural balls last week, where he broadcast a video of himself calling for a "huge shakeup" of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trump himself mistakenly suggested that vaccines were harmful in 2012; he met with Wakefield this summer.
In 1998, Wakefield infamously presented a paper - since retracted - claiming that a combination vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) could be linked to the onset of autism.In the fallout from his error-riddled presentation, his so-called findings were discredited in close to every way possible: The paper was retracted. Wakefield was stripped of his medical license, found guilty of "abusing a position of trust as a medical practitioner," and found guilty of "dishonesty" in his studies.
You wouldn't have known it from looking at TicketTailor.com, however, where the tickets (which were listed as sold out as of the time of this piece's publication) were being sold. Here's how they described the film, called "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe":
In his ongoing effort to advocate for children's health, Wakefield directs this documentary examining the evidence behind an appalling cover-up committed by the government agency charged with protecting the health of American citizens.
The website also stated that guests "will have the privilege of attending a panel discussion with several well-known experts in the field, including Andrew Wakefield."
A link on the site with the text "Join the discussion" leads to a Facebook page with more than 2,300 members called "Bring Vaxxed to the UK." On January 24, one of the group's members posted that a "private screening" of the film was to be shown on February 14 (Valentine's Day) at London's Curzon Cinema. The film was never listed anywhere on Curzon's website. On Thursday, January 26, Curzon provided the following statement to Tom Whipple at the London newspaper The Times saying the screening had been cancelled:
The screening is not part of the Curzon programme; rather it is a private hire hosted by the filmmakers themselves. Part of our business is to provide an entirely impartial, democratic event space in which anyone can hire our screens for events and film screenings. All private hires are unaffiliated with the Curzon brand or any of our venues and we consider such events to be an entirely separate concern from that of our public-facing activity.
The presentation of "Vaxxed" is an example of this distinction being unclear and we now unwittingly find ourselves at the heart of the discussion around it, to a degree where we must take a stance on the material.
In light of the responses we have received from members of the public, we have decided to cancel the private hire contract and pull the film from our venue. We do not wish to profit from a film that has demonstrably caused great distress.
Business Insider reached out to the contact information listed on TicketTailor's site but did not immediately receive a response.
Last year, the documentary was pulled from the line-up of New York's Tribeca Film Festival after numerous requests from scientists and film-makers demanding its removal. The requests included a public complaint from documentarian Penny Lane, who received the Tribeca Film Institute's Documentary Fund (not the same entity as the film festival) in 2012. Lane wrote a scathing public letter to Tribeca on Facebook which read in part, "Dear Tribeca Film Festival, I love you but you made a very serious mistake."