THE PATHOLOGICAL OPTIMIST
In the center of the recent Tribeca Film Festival scandal surrounding his film VAXXED: From Cover-up to Controversy stands Andrew Wakefield, discredited and stripped of his medical license for his infamous study suggesting a link between the MMR vaccine, bowel disease, and autism.
THE PATHOLOGICAL OPTIMIST takes us into the inner sanctum of Wakefield and his family from 2011- 2016 as he fights for his day in court in a little known defamation case against the British Medical Journal. Wakefield attempts to clear his name as the media-appointed Father of the Anti-vaccine movement. Director Miranda Bailey weaves a delicate portrait of a man who is THE PATHOLOGICAL OPTIMIST utilizing a never-before-seen, full access look at the man at the center of one of the biggest medical and media controversies of our times.
In 2013, biologist Dr. Brian Hooker received a call from a Senior Scientist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who led the agency’s 2004 study on the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine and its link to autism.
The scientist, Dr. William Thompson, confessed that the CDC had omitted crucial data in their final report that revealed a causal relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism. Over several months, Dr. Hooker records the phone calls made to him by Dr. Thompson who provides the confidential data destroyed by his colleagues at the CDC.
Dr. Hooker enlists the help of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the British gastroenterologist falsely accused of starting the anti-vax movement when he first reported in 1998 that the MMR vaccine may cause autism. 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.
Interviews with pharmaceutical insiders, doctors, politicians, and parents of vaccine-injured children reveal an alarming deception that has contributed to the skyrocketing increase of autism and potentially the most catastrophic epidemic of our lifetime.
Dr. Wakefield sued in Texas a reporter , being Brian Deer who worked for the Sunday Times which is a British Newspaper, in Texas. Dr. Wakefield lost on a jurisdictional issue and the merits of the case was never reached. Dr. Wakefield Appealed and lost. With no money, he decided to raise money for the movie VAXXED instead.
VAXXED was accepted into and announced in the lineup of the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival with the support of co-founder Robert De Niro, whose then-wife believed that vaccinations had been a factor in their son’s diagnosis of autism. Then, amid unprecedented controversy and demands that it censor the film, Tribeca caved and pulled VAXXED from the lineup. Later, De Niro had a change of heart: He endorsed VAXXED in several television appearances and suggested, “Everyone should see this film and make up their own mind.”