Autism is hard to live with for many families. I know as I am Billy’s mother. Billy is a 19-year-old who had a severe adverse reaction to the MMR vaccine at 13 months of age. He was later diagnosed with autism.
Robert De Niro is the father of a child with autism and no amount of money or fame can take away the sheer heartbreak that comes with this diagnosis. Unless you live with it, it’s impossible to imagine. I know that he, like me and so many others, wants to do the right thing. What happened to our children must not happen to other families. We don’t want others to go through the pain and heartache that comes with caring for a child who has chronic health issues as a result of vaccine injury.
On the other hand, we could just walk away from this and get on with our lives the best we can. Why do I need to constantly tell Billy’s story? People who speak out about vaccine injury are subjected to a constant hail of abuse and even threats. My child is already damaged so why should I care what other parents do?
Because I was once one of them– extremely pro-vaccine. My eldest child Bella had all her vaccinations and was perfectly fine; I had no reason to question anything when I took Billy to the doctor for his shot. I continue to speak about vaccine injury because I don’t want you to watch your child regress into another world. It’s too painful and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Autism doesn’t just affect the child with the diagnosis, but so many others as well. It can be devastating to the entire family.
Robert de Niro lives a life similar to mine. Granted, I don’t have money or fame—which some might argue could ease the burden—but he still lives with the same pain as I do: The deep daily sadness of knowing what our child could have been, the guilt for what we should or could have done differently, and the utter fear for the future of our vulnerable loved ones. For Mr. De Niro to have quashed what I know he thought was an important, well researched documentary can only mean one thing. Someone, somewhere, frightened him. You see we are just parents, we are not scientists. Mr. De Niro is just a father who happens to be an actor. We can tell our stories of what happened to our children and then leave it to the scientists and research world to do the right thing.
Vaxxed: From Coverup To Catastrophe is an Autism Media Channel production. We have spent many years researching collectively so we could bring you accurate information—the truth about the man-made autism epidemic.
I have travelled the world interviewing families, seeing the utter devastation autism brings. Producer Del Bigtree, Andrew Wakefield and I travelled across America to get interviews from scientists, researchers and politicians. I am the parent; Andy is the academic gastroenterologist (with as much, if not more knowledge about autism than any psychiatrist or psychologist can claim); Del is a first class medical journalist. And the team is not just us. We’ve been joined along the way by many experts including parents, academics, practitioners, and journalists who have contributed to the documentary. This film has been thoroughly researched and fact-checked.
As most people know by now, Vaxxed is a film centered around recorded conversations between Brian Hooker and top level CDC scientist William Thompson regarding fraudulent autism research. Brian Hooker is a scientist—a scientist who has a child with autism. What might his motive be if all this is a sham? That would make no sense.
And Andy? Just today, BBC news referred to him as being found guilty of fraud by the UK General Medical Council. He wasn’t. Fraud was never alleged by the GMC. They know this. The news report refers to him as “Mr.” Wakefield as though his medical qualifications can be removed. They can’t. Only his license to practice can be removed. He remains Dr. Wakefield, and they know this too. The report refers to him as an anti-vaccination activist. He isn’t. He is pro-vaccine safety. When people eventually view the film (and believe me they will), this will be made very clear.
Andy could have given up on “the cause” years ago. If he really had been responsible for some kind of medical fraud, it would be pretty clear to him by now that he’d lost. If he really had lied, what on earth would be the point in him carrying on?
But he didn’t lie. He simply listened to the parents, looked at the data and investigated what might be happening. He simply suggested that a potential link between vaccines and autism warranted further study. And he was right.
There is more chronic illness amongst children with autism now than ever before (as Andy said there would be), there are escalating levels of gut problems in all children, but particularly those with autism (as Andy said there would be). There are more people with autism than services can even begin to deal with (as Andy said there would be). And so it goes on. A paper published just this week eagerly informed us about how vitamin B12 might help children with autism. Excuse me for not getting too excited about this, but Andy told us that 20 years ago. Andy and his team are proven right day after day. What Andy predicted is regularly reported in the literature and from the families of children with autism around the globe. The reason he carries on is because he was right, and because he has integrity.
Robert De Niro made his initial statement about the film on Friday after Tribeca had been besieged with complaints from those who are desperate for it not to be seen. After the De Niro statement, the response escalated to the point that the film was withdrawn. Even the detractors have suggested how this indicates a level of fear beyond the norm.
But Robert De Niro is not at fault here. At the end of the day, he is an autism parent like me, neither of us is a scientist or medic. But I am more fortunate than him. I have the best team in the world backing up Billy’s story. Some of the most experienced brains and experts continue working together to bring you the truth. And these people can’t be bought. They won’t be silenced by threats. Mr. De Niro says he has taken “scientific” advice.
I feel bad for him because he took it from the wrong people.
—Polly Tommey, March 27, 2016