Abacus Media Rights (AMR), an Amcomri Entertainment company, has secured worldwide distribution rights (excluding UK) for one-hour feature documentary Race and Medical Experiments: What’s the Truth, an Uplands TV Production for Channel 4.

Presented by television presenter and investigative journalist, Seyi Rhodes (How to Dump Your Mates, Unreported World), this impactful documentary is directed by Edmund Moriarty (Charles I’s Treasures Reunited, Private View) and executive produced by David Olusoga (Statue Wars: One Summer in Bristol, Ashley Banjo: Britain in Black & White) and Mike Smith (1000 Years a Slave, Sacred Rivers, The Ottomans).

Even before the Covid vaccine was available in Britain, America and beyond there was a clear gap in willingness to take it between the general population and some of those from ethnic minorities. Seyi Rhodes is vaccinated but at first his mum was hesitant to take it.  In this eye-opening film, Seyi sets out to discover the links between such vaccine hesitancy and a toxic history of racially charged experiments that contributed to a mistrust of medical science.

One of the most commonly cited examples is in Tuskegee, Alabama.  Seyi travels there to discover the legacy of a notorious syphilis study where African American men were denied treatment and simply observed as their disease progressed; he uncovers another case where a 19th Century gynaecologist perfected his surgical technique on enslaved women, without anaesthetic. 

He discovers how the British ran experiments to see how mustard gas affected Indian skin, and even how the US hunt to find Bin Laden used a fake vaccine programme to obtain DNA samples from his hideout. 

Seyi learns the uncomfortable truth that online anti-vaxxers are exploiting the mistrust linked to this history to persuade people not to take the Covid vaccine today.  But Seyi is inspired when he meets Professor Stephen Thomas, an African American public health pioneer with a mission: to acknowledge the damaging history of the past, in order to win back trust. Backed by the White House and President Biden, he’s turned 1000 barbershops into places where vaccine hesitant people talk and listen, and if they want to, even get the vaccine after their hair cut.

Jonathan Ford, Managing Director at AMR comments, “This is an extremely topical and eye-opening documentary.  We are pleased to have this timely film to offer to our international clients.”