Tuesday 27 June 2017

Robert De Niro backs cash offer to writers for critical vaccine articles

Robert De Niro was on a panel of speakers urging the media to scrutinise use of thimerosal in children's vaccines
Robert De Niro was on a panel of speakers urging the media to scrutinise use of thimerosal in children's vaccines

Actor Robert De Niro has lent his support to a 100,000 US dollar (£80,250) offer to journalists who publicise criticism of vaccination in the US.

He sat on a panel of speakers led by Bobby Kennedy Jr, who urged the media to scrutinise the use of thimerosal, which contains mercury, in children's vaccines.

The Dirty Grandpa star said few words at the event, but backed Mr Kennedy Jr's proposal to "offer 100,000 dollars to start talking about this issue honestly".

De Niro, 73, said: "I thought what Bobby said was great.

"It was eloquent. I couldn't have said it better myself. I agree with him 100%."

During the conference, Mr Kennedy Jr linked thimerosal to the development of autism in children.

But according to the Minnesota Department of Health, studies show "no association" between the two.

De Niro, whose son has autism, said that it would be a positive step if Donald Trump were to support Mr Kennedy Jr's team.

While he has publicly criticised the US president, he said: "Trump I don't care about, if he does the right thing he does the right thing, I don't have to be connected to him".

But listeners have attacked the actor on Twitter for getting involved in the campaign, with many labelling it as "nonsense".

@FilipDrozd said: "Shame on you Robert De Niro. How ignorant!"

Others have ridiculed the cash offer, suggesting that Mr Kennedy Jr and his team hold the responsibility to prove that vaccinations are harmful.

@ProudBoysCanada posted: "Are Robert De Niro and RFKjr serious about this #vaccine thing? Cuz...I already have proof they work, and I could really use 100k right now."

Mr Kennedy Jr hit back at reports accusing him of being "anti-vaccine", insisting that he just wants a "safe vaccine".

"That word 'anti-vax' is a dirty word used to shut down debate," he said.

"Journalists need to stop doing that and they need people to stop talking about it."

Press Association

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