De Niro's Tribeca Festival Pulls Anti-Vaccination Film | NBC New York

The 15th Annual Tribeca Film Festival Hits NYC April 13-24

De Niro's Tribeca Festival Pulls Anti-Vaccination Film

While De Niro on Friday defended the decision to include the film, he says he reversed his decision

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    Robert De Niro, left, and Grace Hightower, right, attend the annual Vanity Fair Tribeca Film Festival kick-off party at the State Supreme Courthouse on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, in New York.

    Robert De Niro is removing the anti-vaccination documentary "Vaxxed" from the lineup of his Tribeca Film Festival, after initially defending its inclusion.

    "Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Conspiracy," was set to be part of the film festival when it opened next month. The decision to include the film by anti-vaccination activist Andrew Wakefield came under fire, particularly since Wakefield's contention that vaccines have a link to autism have been discredited.

    While De Niro on Friday defended the decision to include the film, he released a statement Saturday saying he had reversed his decision.

    De Niro, who has a child with autism, said he had hoped to provide an opportunity for conversation around an issue "that is deeply personal to me and my family."

    Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Billboard Magazine

    However, he said after he and Tribeca organizers reviewed it, "We do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for." He said members of the scientific community also had reviewed it with him.

    An email sent to a contact listed on the film's official website was not immediately returned.

    The Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 13 to April 24.