×

Amazon Pulls Anti-Vaccination Documentaries From Prime Video After Congressman’s Inquiry to Jeff Bezos

UPDATED: Amazon has yanked at least five anti-vaccination documentaries questioning the safety of vaccines from its Prime Video streaming platform.

The move came just hours after U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) publicly announced that he’d sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos expressing concern that Amazon is “surfacing and recommending products and content that discourage parents from vaccinating their children.”

The anti-vax documentaries had been available in the U.S. as part of Prime Video but as of Friday afternoon were not available to stream. Those include “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe”; “We Don’t Vaccinate!”; “The Greater Good”; “Shoot ‘Em Up: The Truth About Vaccines,” a purported exposé on the danger vaccines pose by potentially contributing to autism, asthma and neurological damage; and “Man Made Epidemic,” described as an investigation into “the autism epidemic and whether MMR vaccines have a role to play.”

“Vaxxed,” directed and written by leading anti-vax proponent Andrew Wakefield, questions the link between vaccinations and autism. It was selected to be screened at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival before a backlash prompted festival co-founder Robert De Niro to drop it from the lineup. Following the controversy, the film’s distributor gave it a limited theatrical release.

Amazon reps did not respond to requests for comment. Amazon’s removal of the anti-vax documentaries from Prime Video was first reported by BuzzFeed News.

While the anti-vaccination movies were no longer available on Prime Video, DVDs of the titles remained available for purchase on Amazon (with the exception of “We Don’t Vaccinate!”). The ecommerce behemoth also continues to list multiple anti-vax books for sale on the site.

Earlier Friday, Schiff announced the letter addressed to Bezos, which said in part, “There is strong evidence to suggest that at least part of the source of [the anti-vaccination] trend is the degree to which medically inaccurate information about vaccines surface on the websites where many Americans get their information, among them Amazon. As the largest online marketplace in the world, Amazon is in a unique position to shape consumption.” He also cited a CNN report that Amazon accepts paid advertising that contains misinformation about vaccines.

Two weeks ago, Schiff also had sent a letter to Google and Facebook requesting details on how the companies planned to combat the spread of information discouraging parents from vaccinating their children.

As Schiff noted in each of the letters to Amazon, Facebook and Google, there’s overwhelming scientific and medical evidence that childhood vaccinations are both safe and effective at curbing disease outbreaks. He also cited Washington State’s declaration of a public health emergency due to a measles outbreak in Clark County, “signaling the resurgence of a potentially fatal disease that was effectively eliminated from the United States decades ago by vaccines.”

Last week, YouTube said it will no longer serve ads on channels that espouse anti-vaccination rhetoric. The Google-owned video giant cited its advertising policy that bans “dangerous and harmful” content from eligibility in its monetization program. Facebook has said it is working to “reduce the distribution of health-related misinformation” on the platform.

Separately, Pinterest recently implemented a change to block all vaccination-related searches on its image and video-sharing platform, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

More Digital

  • Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown, a leading platform for letting music fans know about upcoming concerts by their favorite artists, has acquired Hypebot, a news site publishing stories about the music industry and technology, and its sister site MusicThinkTank. “I’m proud to share that Hypebot and MusicThinkTank have been acquired by Bandsintown,” wrote Bruce Houghton, the founder of the [...]

  • Star-Wars-The-Clone-Wars

    Netflix Dropping Disney's 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars,' James Bond Movies in April 2019

    More Disney content is about to roll off Netflix: The 2008 “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated movie as well as six seasons of the subsequent “Clone Wars” series are among the titles set to leave the streaming service next month. According to Netflix, the original Lucasfilm movie along with “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” [...]

  • Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’

    Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’ Is Future of VR

    As virtual reality becomes more and more available, many developers are looking for new frontiers to expand the experiences offered by the tech. For Netherlands-based Vertigo Games, that next frontier is what they call “location-based virtual reality.” It’s essentially high-quality VR experiences where players aren’t tethered to a PC or even to the confines of [...]

  • GDC 2019: Google's Play For Gaming

    GDC 2019: Google's Play For Gaming Ubiquity, Rise of Ray Tracing, Store Wars

    The Game Developers Conference finished up Friday evening, wrapping one of the most exciting GDCs in recent memory with Google’s splashy entrance into AAA video gaming, the emergence of real-time ray tracing as a compelling technology for film, TV, and games, and the growing war between two global estore powerhouses: Valve’s Steam and the Epic [...]

  • Apple Video, TV, News Subscription Service

    Apple Ready to Raise Curtain on Video, TV and News Subscription Service

    The day has nearly arrived for Apple to show the world whether there’s any fire behind the smoke of its streaming service. Apple has kept a tight lid on most of the details of its upcoming service, even keeping its creative partners in the dark about how exactly their work will be distributed. What is [...]

  • Gabrielle Union

    10 Things We Learned at Variety’s 2019 Entertainment Marketing Summit

    Variety’s 2019 Entertainment Marketing Summit, which brought top execs to Hollywood’s NeueHouse on Thursday, covered considerable ground. From cutting through the noise in an oversaturated media landscape to welcoming exciting technology like virtual reality, industry veterans offered insight into what to expect from the marketing world in coming years. Here are 10 things we learned [...]

  • Netflix iPhone mobile app

    Netflix Tries Out Mobile-Only Subscription Plan in India

    Streaming giant Netflix is testing a mobile-only subscription in India that costs half of its basic plan. Netflix India’s monthly plans begin at INR500 ($7.27), and the mobile-only plan is being trialed at INR250 ($3.63) per month. “We are always looking for ways to make Netflix more enjoyable and accessible,” a Netflix spokesperson told Variety. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content