Robert De Niro, who has a child with autism, was going to personally introduce the film, Vaxxed, to the audience at his Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
He thought the film was important. It makes a case for a connection between vaccines and autism.
Then, an uproar ensued, pressure was brought to bear, and De Niro decided to cancel the screening at his festival.
One of the angles used to pressure him? People might agree with the film’s content and decide not vaccinate their children, or they might decide to space the vaccines out over a longer period of time. This horrible act might endanger lives. It might kill children.
Therefore, don’t let people see the film. Don’t let them be contaminated. Don’t let them make up their own minds. Don’t let them have access to information. You see, the parents themselves are children wandering in the wilderness, with no ability to analyze information. They must defer to the experts. They mustn’t listen to other voices. They mustn’t be permitted to think.
Free speech? Never, ever heard of it.
You see, this is Science. Only certain people know what science says or means. They are the chosen few in the palace. They decide for the rest of us. They are the little gods and the censors.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of this bullshit.
On big screens all over the country, you can put up movies depicting people being torn limb from limb, drowning in their own blood, you can put up movies with panting soft-porn money shots, you can put up movies that blow up half the world; but you can’t show a movie that questions the effects of vaccines.
That’s show biz, where the stars are co-opted on a daily basis, and if they move off the dime, they’re attacked in the press.
But so what?
Listen, Robert, you could have shown the film, and you could have laid on a live presentation afterwards, with speakers delivering both sides of the issue right there in the theater. You could have stood up and said you weren’t going to be bulldozed. You could have said Film itself is based on the sanctity of free speech and there was no way you were going to sacrifice that principle. You could have drawn a line in the sand. You could have parlayed your reputation and awards in the industry to make a point. You could have explained who pressured you and why. You could have refused to let the moment pass. You could have broken the back of censorship, and you could have enlisted the aid of a few of your famous friends, right up on stage, to back you up. You could have turned the whole thing around, because after all, you were just preparing to show a film. That’s what you were doing. With enough force behind your words (you know how to do that, don’t you?), you could have exposed the whole insane sham of Don’t Show a Film. You could have said, “This is not the Censored Tribeca Film Festival. That’s not the name of this event and it never will be.” You could have blown the doors apart. You could have gone live and done in public, for once, what you do on the screen. You could have hit the censors in their snake eyes and put them away. You could have gone on The View and Fallon and Kimmel and Oprah and made your case against the people who want to shut down free speech. And you know you could have scored a victory.
But you didn’t do that. You backed down.
It’s not too late. You can still fire up your courage and your outrage and show the film. It’s your festival. You’re the boss.
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