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Robert De Niro debates autism's link to vaccines on TODAY Show

Robert De Niro visited TODAY Wednesday morning to celebrate the 15th opening of the Tribeca Film Festival.

During the interview, the esteemed actor commented on the controversy that sparked after "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Conspiracy," was recently pulled from the festival's lineup. The anti-vaccination film is billed as an investigation into a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that found the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine does not cause autism.

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"I think the movie is something that people should see," De Niro told Savannah Guthrie. "I didn't want it to start affecting the festival in ways I couldn't see."

The controversy over the mumps-measles-rubella vaccine began about 20 years ago after a study suggested a link to autism. As NBC News has continued to report, the research was later completely discredited and study after study since has shown no link. The Institute of Medicine, an independent group that advises the U.S. government on health matters, has strongly advised that researchers stop wasting time looking at vaccines and search elsewhere for the causes of autism.

When asked about De Niro's comments, Autism Speaks gave a statement to NBC News: "Over the last two decades, extensive research has asked whether there is any link between childhood vaccinations and autism. The results of this research are clear: Vaccines do not cause autism."

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