(for background read my other post ‘VAXXED, CLIFF and THRUSSELL: How a cancelled film was everything about consequences of poor decision making and nothing about freedom of speech’. See also a resources and a guide for media underneath post)
Update: According to the Citizen 17 Nov 2017, “Vaxxed and men’s rights documentary The Red Pill. Both were jointly awarded the festival’s Best Documentary prize.”
Like Milo Yiannopoulos, controversy, attention and exposure is what Richard Wolstencroft wants and it’s what he needs for the Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF). The 18th MUFF/2017 catalogue was just released (see here) and a ‘Golden Age of Censorship’ page on MUFF and it falsely frames the screening of Vaxxed in order to maximise the potential for controversy and sensationalism. I wanted to deflate the manufactured controversy.
There is a false characterisation of the previous canceled screening of Vaxxed as a free speech/censorship issue – as I predicted would happen in the last post and on twitter. A year ago I could see the chain of bad decisions and lies, during the last screening attempt at Castlemaine Local and International Film Festival (CLIFF), being used as propaganda. My fear has been realised, as you’ll see below, but the context probably discredits more than gives credence to the film’s ideas. Where has it landed? Basically in the gutter, accompanying the Red Pill at a minor festival (a springboard for a fair amount of notable horror film makers – perhaps a befitting place for Wakefield?) “curated” by David Thrussell and billed in the most incredulous terms, “as a rallying cry for all Free Speech advocates, refuseniks, troublemakers and free thinkers. Let the resistance begin…”.
I get it, they are trying to hype it up, but I made this post to have a look at the contents of the catalogue as it relates to Vaxxed and the false framing they have taken. Sorry about the length but “the amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.”
To begin, the Directors Statement by Richard Wolstencroft
The Theme this year is The Golden Age of Censorship. David Thrussell and I came up with it whilst whittling away on some wood at his country compound. We realised we were living in a scary new 1984 type world of censorship that was being insidiously brought into existence by the very people who process to love free speech and individuality. Two films in particular, The Red Pill and Vaxxed, no other festival in Australia had the guts to let you see – but we will! Check our FB CLOSER to the event when SECRET venue will be revealed to stop/slow protests and wowsers who would silence Free Expression.
What’s ironic is that CLIFF, run by Thrussell, was the only festival in Australia to cancel a screening of Vaxxed. Think about that. Wolstencroft got the guy, who didn’t have the guts to stand by a terrible film, to talk about free speech at another film festival. Cool.
Perhaps other film festivals of note haven’t booked Vaxxed or the Red Pill because they are failures as films: lacking artistic, scientific, political, public utility and originality to merit a screening? It’s not great when “the movie’s own website can’t link a single mainstream outlet that gave it a good review” is that 1984 or a consensus of a bad film? Also, it’s a bit much to claim that we’re in a “Golden Age of Censorship” when we live in the era of fake news, when literally any claim can get an airing, as an exponent of conspiracy theories such as Sandy Hook denialism, Thrussell, (through his musical persona Snog) should know this.
One of the worst, most repugnant conspiracy theories is Sandy Hook denialism, in which it is accused that there was no mass-murder of elementary schoolchildren and teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The victims, and their families, it is argued are all crisis actors: fakes.
Thrussell uses his free speech to push an idea of Crises Actor, he literally called his musical project Crisis Actor. Good use of free speech. No one is stopping Thrusell push these repugnant ideas. This insane crank conspiracy theory (debunked by Snopes as was the claims in Vaxxed) that Thrussell celebrates by adorning the imagery on his album has led to victims of mass shootings being harassed:
Disturbingly, some of these assholes took to naming and harassing individuals whom they perceived as possible crisis actors. Ordinary citizens who had been interviewed at Sandy Hook, or done what they could to help survivors and the distraught community, found not only their media interviews but their private lives and Facebook profiles under hostile scrutiny and their privacy invaded with aggressive telephone calls and hate mail. Most famous is the case of Gene Rosen, a local resident who, on the day of the Sandy Hook massacre, had looked after six children who fled the school. He was interviewed many times during the media coverage of the shootings. As the Sandy Hook “truther” movement picked up momentum, Rosen quickly became identified by various bloggers and conspiracy pundits as a crisis actor, and suffered sustained campaigns of online and real life harassment.
If Thrussell freely pushes this dangerous conspiracy theory (and many others) perhaps his Golden-Age-of Censorship-1984 Schtick is manufactured or misplaced?
Another health related film being shown at MUFF is one about a “debate” regarding urine therapy – probably a self defeating argument regarding a quack treatment but you never know… Is it a joke though? Any way, here’s the trailer to wet your whistle…..please go buy tickets here.
I’ll just give a run down on the section of the catalogue for “the Golden Age of Censorship” and add some snark. It is full of mistruths, exaggerations, tautologies, as one would expect. Enjoy:
An insidious nexus of commercial interests, wayward ideology, government chicanery and media zealotry have combined to make this truly ‘The Golden Age of Censorship.’
There’s a lot to unpack there but I’ll just say when CLIFF got exposure for attempting to screen Vaxxed (which is probably what Woltencroft desperately wants) Thrussell, representing the film festival, got extensive media attention and his claims in CLIFF media releases were published verbatim without scrutiny. Also, as I was at pains to spell out in the previous post, no one censored Vaxxed at CLIFF (“CLIFF is compelled…to withdraw the screening from the CLIFF 2016 programme“) or at the Tribeca Film Festival in the States (“We [The Festival] have decided to remove it from our schedule.”.
Forced into underground, Soviet Union-style screenings, these vilified films neither affront the public morals nor scream sedition – they simply surface inconvenient questions and politically and commercially dangerous ideas.
Credible voices disagree, the issue is a public health issue – not political or commercial or any other red herring. The only legitimate question the film offers is how some one who perpetrated one of “the most damaging medical hoax of the last 100 years“, found to be a fraud by the Lancet, who was struck off the British medical register, had their paper retracted and had conflicts of interest while creating his fraudulent research still gets an audience. There’s no “inconvenient questions” just bullshit that Wakefield spreads and others chose to give him a platform.
Blacklisted, banned, censored, de-platformed and disinvited – a ‘New McCarthyism’ now makes reasoned discourse impossible and scandalises mere disagreement. Cheered on by a braying and compliant media, the ‘Nanny State’ and its swarms of online foot soldiers police ‘wrongthink’ through shrill do-gooders and pastel-Police State apparatchiks.
Why so triggered? Wolstencroft creates, from this word salad, a straw man which is conveniently constructed so he can ignoring credible voices like Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy, Victorian Minister for Health Jill Hennessy, Public Health Association of Australia chief executive Michael Moore, The Australian Medical Association Director Dr Michael Gannon, the scientific community, Australian Nobel laureate Peter C. Doherty (whose research focus is the immune system), Dr David H. Gorski etc etc while slipping in his own solution which is??? Of course its MUFF to the rescue…
MUFF is proud to present these two contentious documentaries as a rallying cry for all Free Speech advocates, refuseniks, troublemakers and free thinkers. Let the resistance begin…
Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe (USA – 2016)
Banned from Robert De Niro’s 2016 Tribeca Film Festival,
Wrong. See above.
slandered by brigades of professional trolls, endlessly vilified by the mainstream media and deemed a ‘threat to the public health’ by the Australian government:
If a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound. If Vaxxed is shown at MUFF has it really been shown at a festival?
‘Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe’ is not the ‘anti-vaccination film’
This guy disagrees.
that you have been told. The film instead follows the story of Dr. William Thompson, a senior scientist at the US CDC (the government agency charged with protecting the health of American citizens) who alleged that the CDC knowingly destroyed data in their 2004 study that showed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. See the film yourself. Resist the government, media and pharmaceutical industry propaganda blitz and make up your own mind.
If any one thinks Wakefield is an authoritative source then what’s not an authoritative source?
For an extended discussion of the problems with Vaxxed and the claims by William Thompson there is an excellent post in post called ‘Vaxxed – a guide to Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent film’ and another post in Science-Based Medicine with the title ‘Reviewing Andrew Wakefield’s VAXXED: Antivaccine propaganda at its most pernicious’. Each key claim, including the the ones by William Thompson, (that Wolstencroft cites as the most “devastating claims” that are ignored by critics) is addressed. Let’s just take a minute to address these claims. I’ll just begin with Snopes:
What got lost in the brouhaha over Dr. Thompson’s “confession,” allegations about a “cover-up” at the CDC, and threats of whistleblower lawsuits was what should have been the main point: Did collected data actually prove that the MMR vaccine produces a 340% increased risk of autism in African-American boys? The answer is no, it did not.
On 27 August 2014, Dr. Hooker’s article published in the journal Translational Neurodegeneration that concluded “African American males receiving the MMR vaccine prior to 24 months of age or 36 months of age are more likely to receive an autism diagnosis” was removed from public domain due to issues of conflict of interest and the questionable validity of its methods:The Editor and Publisher regretfully retract the article as there were undeclared competing interests on the part of the author which compromised the peer review process. Furthermore, post-publication peer review raised concerns about the validity of the methods and statistical analysis, therefore the Editors no longer have confidence in the soundness of the findings.
and Science-Based Medicine concludes that:
…having a point of view, a position if you will, to argue does not give filmmakers like Bigtree and Wakefield license to present their data deceptively or dishonestly, but that’s exactly what they do in VAXXED. They both present antivaccine misinformation and frame correct information in a deceptive way meant to persuade the audience that the CDC whistleblower conspiracy theory is real, that the CDC is covering up evidence that vaccines cause autism, and that vaccines are dangerous.
….and back to the catalogue
The Red Pill (USA – 2016)
For her latest project, feminist lm maker Cassie Jaye
decided to enter the ominous labyrinth of the ‘Men’s Rights Movement.’ She came out the other side a changed person. Sincere, unpretentious and affecting, her documentary, The Red Pill, has since been picketed, petitioned
“picketed, petitioned” aren’t they forms of free speech?
I’ve got to share a paragraph that might be one of the greatest ever written. It’s about the founder of the Mens Rights Movement and the genesis of the concept of “red pill”
Men’s rights activists often cite the first time they realized it’s a woman’s world. They call these “red pill” moments, after the scene in The Matrix when the main character is faced with the decision to swallow a red pill and recognize the true nature of the world or take a blue pill and continue living a lie. For Elam, that revelation came at age 13, when his mother tried to force him to take his diarrhea medicine.
back to the catalogue
and pushed to the margins – weathering an endless storm of cancelled screenings, and subjecting Jaye herself to the pitiful abuse of the clucking morons of Australian network television.
This isn’t entirely wrong “clucking morons of Australian network television”… or right another vague pronouncement.
Come see the viral film sensation that has yet to have an open, public screening in Australia and come see why.
They say it’s a screening at a “SECRET venue” then say it’s at an “open, public screening”.
Thrussell and Richard Wolstencroft are both privileged in that they will face no consequences from spreading anti-vaxx propaganda. They think they are champions of free speech, at least they say it – I’m not so sure they believe it themselves – but really they are a champions for their own unacknowledged privilege and status. Wolstencroft programmed a film and a phone hook up with David Irving the notorious holocaust denier for MUFF 2003. The film was a lecture by David Irving called In Search For Truth In History (originally made in 1993 to be shown in Australia in his absence after being refused entry). Vaxxed and Red Pill seem like a same grasping for sensationalism and headlines while also ignoring perhaps some unacknowledged tendencies of the director.
Wolsentcroft revels in the media attention. He said after the attention he received from the Nazi themed night, at his nightclub the Hellfire Club, that he “deliberately” does provocative things because in his words “I love causing controversy”:
What ever I do I’m a provocateur, I love it when people hate what I do sometimes, I deliberately do it, I love causing controversy, I love being hated in the media, being on the front cover of the Herald Sun, being attacked, I mean that’s so much fun.
WolstenCrroft also said that he chose Irving because he was a “shit stirrer” that both himself and Irving like to “rub people up the wrong way”, which is very charitable description of a Nazi, who had his day in court to defend his “shit stirring” but instead got his arse served:
The judge said he found that Irving was “an active Holocaust denier; that he was anti-Semitic and racist and that he associated with right-wing extremists who promoted neo-Nazism”.
At trial, they demonstrated that Irving had knowingly used falsified documents as sources, misattributed quotes, and willfully interpreted euphemisms for extermination (a common component of the orders issued by the Nazi high command) at face value…As much as he loves to, even David Irving now cannot deny that it is an established legal fact that he is a Holocaust-denying, Nazi-supporting, racist fuckhead.
what was Judge Charles Gray findings?
The charges which I have found to be substantially true include the charges that Irving has for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence; that for the same reasons he has portrayed Hitler in an unwarrantedly favourable light, principally in relation to his attitude towards and responsibility for the treatment of the Jews; that he is an active Holocaust denier; that he is anti-semitic and racist and that he associated with right wing extremists who promote neo-Nazism.
A feature film was released about the case in 2016 called Denial, it was tricky one that cold have normalised holocaust denial if they lost. I recommend a watch.
In a radio interview only, last year, with alt-right personalities, Wolstencroft, explained his thinking leading up to the attempt to play Irving’s film. Wolstencroft says that he found Irving to be a “charmer” and that he was “interested” in holocaust denial himself. He also equivocated on his own position on holocaust denial, suggesting that the “film industry” is holding him back from speaking freely about his position on holocaust denial:
I have never made a comment whether I believe any of it [holocaust denial], and won’t make a comment on that because essentially you can’t in the film industry.“
Well are you a holocaust denier or not? Because the above statement only says that you have never ruled it out. If you accept the proposition that the film industry is ok with people believing historical fact that the holocaust happened then one would assume that the “comment” on holocaust denial that “you can’t [make] in the film industry” is a rejection of that historical fact, therefore holocaust denial.
But like I said if sensationalism is what you like then please go buy tickets here. And if you really want to take part in a debate about vaccine safety I suggest you start with going to medical school and then having the debate in peer-reviewed journal articles.
Here’s someone who Wakefield tried to take their free speech by suing them for libel. His name’s Brian Deer – the libel suit was dismissed because Wakefield was not acting in good faith and Wakefield had to pay Deer’s legal expenses. The judge said he “wished to extract whatever advantage he could from the existence of the proceedings”. A new doco featuring Wakefield launching fresh attacks against Brian Deer and (according to reports) spreads the same misinformation regarding vaccines, it also appears like another piece of reputation reconstruction and PR for Wakefield that MUFF is giving for free in the case of Vaxxed. Wakefield is a fraud. People like Deer are the real heroes in this sorry affair:
The key claims made by Deer that withstood the libel suit were, as summarised in the libel case, that Wakefield:
“i) Spread fear that the MMR vaccine might lead to autism, even though he knew that his own laboratory had carried out tests whose results dramatically contradicted his claims in that the measles virus had not been found in a single one of the children concerned in his study and he knew or ought to have known that there was absolutely no basis at all for his belief that the MMR should be broken up into single vaccines.”
(ii) In spreading such fear, acted dishonestly and for mercenary motives in that, although he improperly failed to disclose the fact, he planned a rival vaccine and products (such as a diagnostic kit based on his theory) that could have made his fortune.
(iii) Gravely abused the children under his care by unethically carrying out extensive invasive procedures (on occasions requiring three people to hold a child down), thereby driving nurses to leave and causing his medical colleagues serious concern and unhappiness.
(iv) Improperly and/or dishonestly failed to disclose to his colleagues and to the public at large that his research on autistic children had begun with a contract with solicitors which were trying to sue the manufacturers of the MMR vaccine.
(v) Improperly and/or dishonestly lent his reputation to the International Child Development Resource Centre which promoted to very vulnerable parents expensive products for whose efficacy (as he knew or should have known) there was no scientific evidence”.
Here’s a visual rundown of some of the key dates leading up to Vaxxed in a convenient infographic.
Other expected arguments:
- Critics haven’t seen the film – They have.
- It’s an important health issue that needs to be exposed and Wakefield et al are heroes doing it – their not.
- “I’m not anti-vaxx I’m just pro-caution” – If you’re cautious why take advice from proven fraudsters like Wakefield? Also, the construction is a nice way of falsely manufacturing doubt. If you are concerned seek advice from a GP.
- The film’s worth screening because of free speech – does controversy necessitate value in content or information? No.
- The film’s worth screening because of awareness – awareness of what, Vaxxed is a PR campaign to rehabilitate Wakefield and keep grifters employed that need his brand.
- The film’s worth screening because it will “kick start discussion” – same can be said for urine therapy, climate denial, holocaust denial, creationism. Just because there are two sides doesn’t mean that limited space needs to be taken by these issues. The “debate” might be confected and bullshit. The thing about Vaxxed is that they are not arguing in good faith. There is no debate about MMR and autism in peer-reviewed literature. This was explained in the last post, as was the false claims in Vaxxed.
- There’s a “Big Pharma cover up and Mainstream Media and Establishment Complicity” – reaching for the tin foil
- Trump is against vaccines – getting health advice from Trump!! What could go wrong? Like taking advice on climatology from Trump. There are better sources such as “elites” who went to medical school or groups like IPCC…
- These films are about conspiracy theories and they are just fun – no? This ignores real world consequences of conspiracy theories and particularly anti-vax propaganda. Ask Barry and Lorraine Young whose daughter died from a now vaccine preventable disease. Dr. Paul Hébert “This spawned a whole anti-vaccine movement…It probably resulted in a lot of deaths.” New York Times “irresponsibly starting a panic with tragic repercussions.”
- It’s elitists and white privilege to criticise Vaxxed – I privilege truth over bullshit, I also privilege the health of children over bullshit artists. “It seems to me that truth, reason and objectivity are values worth defending no matter what one’s political views” – Sokal
- And general sophistry, red herrings along the way
It’s ok to shame the prophets of the anti vaccines movement:
But changing our culture means taking aim at the powerful and those profiting from the anti-vaccination movement. And make no mistake that there are people getting rich from the anti-vaccine industry.
“Back fire” effect
There has been a misconception that correcting erroneous beliefs will lead to people doubling down – this effect known as the “back fire” effect has been overstated. Also what is the alternative options? Silence? Lies? Truth is all we have so it must be rigorously applied. The “back fire” effect has been walked back by the original proponent. Therefore, it’s always good to provide accurate and correct information and help debunk false and misleading information.
Guide to Media
- Scrutinize any claims and ask for evidence and specifics. Claims got traction last time when Vaxxed was cancelled at CLIFF because of lazy journalism. For example Wolstencroft/Thrussell will try to frame the films as being censored and from past experience they have proven penchant for pushing dubious and fictitious claims. Wolstencroft has already stated “We have received two complaints already, via two FB profiles” without providing any evidence. He also said “We are told to expect harassment over playing this film” Who told him and when? Expect more of these vague unsubstantiated claims.
- Challenge claims made by anti-vaxxers. Don’t repeat claims verbatim and unchallenged from a media release – as I’ve already shown in the past post there has been a false construction of a narrative that the media assisted with building – some advocates have an agenda and are happy to deceptively frame the issue or use fictions claims to further an interest.
- Accurately report from authoritative sources/bodies – many peak health bodies and elected representatives speak on the issue
- Beware of framing a false balance, both sides aren’t equal, there is no debate
- Beware of the ‘manufacture of doubt’ of fact of a scientific consensus around vaccines (or climate change). To repeat the doubt is to repeat propaganda – anti-vaxxers want people to believe there is a debate in academia, same with climate change which has the 98% consensus.
- Don’t be an un-suspecting mouthpiece of anti-vaxxers. Beware of an event promoters trying to receive free publicity by creating scandal or making outrageous claims. Be extra cautious not to fall for a hoax or fictions sensational claims.
- It is in the public interest to have accurate, correct information and challenge mistruths – helping spread misinformation is ethical wrong and dangerous. It’s in the public interest to point out where there is misinformation. Professor Brian Owler, a former president of the Australian Medical Association board member of Autism Awareness Australia has said ” It’s really dangerous if we allow this stuff to go unchallenged. You have to educate every new group of parents. It’s a constant message that needs to come out.” There is a contest of ideas and it’s a competitive environment – anti-vaxxers (I mean the cyclical proponents of a movement) have it easy because they don’t have to prove a negative, they just jump from false claim to false claim, ala Gish Gallop, – “the amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.”
- Contextualise the issue. Wakefield is a proven fraud, he also said that last when a festival stopped playing Vaxxed in Australia it was from a state endorsed terrorism, the festival organiser was never asked abut this and Wakefield was never asked about this. Also, many people have grown up without living through polio or another vaccine preventable disease therefore some people are complacent. It’s ok to remind people of vaccine success over time which has led to a false sense of security for people to free load or dabble with anti-vaxxers.
- Repeat after me Wakefield…. is…. a…. fraud. There’s a big difference between addressing people who cynically manipulate the public and genuinely concerned parents. Wakefield is the former. You are on safe ground to use the following accurate words/sentences to describe Wakefield: “abused the children” “took advantage of parents” “fraud” “the paper was in fact an elaborate fraud” “unethical treatment of children” “conflict of interest ” “lier” “had multiple articles retracted” “great science fraud” “quack” “peddles propaganda” “Medical doctor struck off by the General Medical Council” “Clear evidence of falsification” “not independent” “discredited” “acted dishonestly and for mercenary motives” “exploited vulnerable parents” “dishonest” “wasted precious medical resources proving a negative” “career went into free fall” “conspiracy theorist” “patently false” “Thanks to Andy Wakefield, a disease that was nearly extinct is roaring back.”
- Every opportunity should be a learning opportunity. Provide further information see resources below. It’s good to restate the basics every time there’s an opportunity instead of being played by anti-vaxxers/arguing on their own terms/ letting them frame the debate and keep going in circles. If the narrative of false balance and the ‘manufacture of doubt’ is pushed, usually through “he-said/she-said” journalism then that reporting is aiding anti-vaccine propaganda (which Wakefield’s business model/reputation needs – as does other proponents of alternative medicine that have an interest in spreading fear).
Professor Brian Owler, a former president of the Australian Medical Association and a board member of Autism Awareness Australia, said the consequences of not countering claims put forward by the anti-vaccination movement are too dangerous.
You’ve only got to see the stuff on the internet to know this is the stuff of conspiracy theories. It’s really dangerous if we allow this stuff to go unchallenged. You have to educate every new group of parents. It’s a constant message that needs to come out.
Dear parents, you are being lied to. By Jennifer Raff
They say that if other people’s children are vaccinated, there’s no need for their children to get vaccinated.
This is one of the most despicable arguments I’ve ever heard. First of all, vaccines aren’t always 100% effective, so it is possible for a vaccinated child to still become infected if exposed to a disease. Worse, there are some people who can’t receive vaccinations, because they are immune deficient, or because they are allergic to some component. Those people depend upon herd immunity to protect them. People who choose not to vaccinate their children against infectious diseases are putting not only their own children at risk, but also other people’s children.
How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endanger Us All by Amy Wallace
Consider: In certain parts of the US, vaccination rates have dropped so low that occurrences of some children’s diseases are approaching pre-vaccine levels for the first time ever. And the number of people who choose not to vaccinate their children (so-called philosophical exemptions are available in about 20 states, including Pennsylvania, Texas, and much of the West) continues to rise. In states where such opting out is allowed, 2.6 percent of parents did so last year, up from 1 percent in 1991, according to the CDC. In some communities, like California’s affluent Marin County, just north of San Francisco, non-vaccination rates are approaching 6 percent (counterintuitively, higher rates of non-vaccination often correspond with higher levels of education and wealth).
That may not sound like much, but a recent study by the Los Angeles Timesindicates that the impact can be devastating. The Times found that even though only about 2 percent of California’s kindergartners are unvaccinated (10,000 kids, or about twice the number as in 1997), they tend to be clustered, disproportionately increasing the risk of an outbreak of such largely eradicated diseases as measles, mumps, and pertussis (whooping cough). The clustering means almost 10 percent of elementary schools statewide may already be at risk.
My Polio Story is an Inconvenient Truth to Those Who Refuse Vaccines by Christine Vara
I read about it in the newspaper. People stood in line for hours waiting for the shot when it became available in 1955. I didn’t have the vaccine because I was immune. In the years that followed, there were so few polio cases that people only heard about the rare ones that would crop up somewhere in another state, and those stories were so unusual they’d be in the newspaper.
Correction: A previous version said that Wolstencroft invited David Irving. Wolstencroft stated that he didn’t invite him. The confusion came from the film “programmed” was a “lecture” by Irving:
Wolstencroft really got people angry last year when he programmed a lecture by the Holocaust denier David Irving as part of the 2003 festival. Although the screening was cancelled (when the cinema’s landlord locked everyone out), Wolstencroft was widely condemned by members of the Jewish community for promoting Irving’s right to free speech.
I thought Irving was banned from entering Australia for this festival. Irving has been banned from entering Australia multiple times (5?) that run before and after 2003. His last visit was in 1987.