Are you a scientist? Would you like to make some money? Well! It’s your lucky day, because Robert De Niro and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. are offering a cash prize to any scientist who can prove to them that vaccines are safe.
In what could possibly be the most deeply unsettling meeting of the Irish and the Italians since my last family get-together, De Niro and Kennedy participated in a panel at the National Press Club on Wednesday, explaining that they are so certain that vaccines are not safe, on account of the fact that they contain mercury and pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat tuna fish sandwiches, that they are offering $100,000 to anyone “who can find a peer-reviewed scientific study demonstrating that thimerosal is safe in the amounts contained in vaccines currently being administered to American children and pregnant women.”
(Spoiler: The Centers for Disease Control literally put out a list of “examples of some of the different methods that researchers have used to examine thimerosal safety in vaccines.”)
Kennedy has been a known anti-vaxxer for ages, and is apparently even going to be on Donald Trump‘s special vaccine commission, and De Niro, whose son has autism, has been on this train for a while as well. Last March, he notably defended the inclusion of an anti-vaxxer documentary called Vaxxed! in the Tribeca Film Festival, which he co-founded. He later pulled it out, but was nonetheless criticized for having tried to include it in the first place.
I am taking this a little personally, frankly, because I love Robert De Niro. I especially loved him when he offered to punch Donald Trump in the face. That was so great! Remember how great that was? Also Goodfellas and The Godfather Part II, and The Deer Hunter? But also the time he offered to punch Donald Trump in the face and it was delightful?
I sincerely hope that some nice scientist is able to sit him down, and explain vaccines to him, and let him know that his concerns have all been resolved, and convince him to not be so terrible about this, because I think we, as a people, deserve the best possible De Niro.
(Image via Shutterstock)