Woody Harrelson, who has spread COVID-19 conspiracy theories in the past, has been criticized for appearing to denounce pandemic safety measures and vaccines during his “Saturday Night Live” monologue this weekend.
At the helm of Saturday’s show, the self-proclaimed “redneck hippie” delivered a rambling stand-up routine that touched on politics, glorified cannabis, promoted his new movie “Champions” – and apparently pharmaceutical companies that make COVID-19 vaccines, with “drug cartels” forcing people to “take drugs”.
While hosting the latest episode of “SNL” with musical guest Jack White, Harrelson kicked off a lengthy story about a film “script” he was given in 2019.
“The movie goes like this,” Harrelson said. “The biggest drug cartels in the world are coming together and buying up all the media and all the politicians and forcing everyone in the world to stay locked in their homes. And the only way people can get out is if they take the cartel drugs and do them over and over again.”
“I threw away the script,” he continued. “I mean, who would believe that crazy idea? Being forced to take drugs? I do that voluntarily.”
For the record, public health officials have encouraged people to remain cautious about COVID-19 and keep up to date on vaccinations, even as safety precautions like mask and vaccination requirements are being relaxed across the country.
According to a January report from the Los Angeles County Department of Health, unvaccinated individuals in LA County were more than seven times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who received an updated booster during the last coronavirus spike .
When this week’s episode of “SNL” aired on NBC, Harrelson’s opening remarks sparked a Twitter backlash. A person dismissed the monologue as “Antivax nonsense,” while another questioned who at NBC “approved it.”
“There are so many terrible things about big pharma like insulin prices and the opioid epidemic, but people instead focus on vaccines when there’s no evidence against them.” @ryancbeard tweeted. “I do not get it.”
“F— you for giving this guy a platform to spread this anti-vax [BS]” @drosslmyers tweeted. “Call me a bad sport or whatever, but I don’t find it funny when we’re still in the middle of a disease that’s still spreading thanks to losers like this.”
Harrelson’s routine was praised online by controversial Twitter owner Elon Musk and others who called the Oscar nominee’s comments “just right” and praised him for “tell the truth to power”.
It’s worth noting that the ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘True Detective’ star has a history of spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. In a May interview with Vanity Fair, Harrelson falsely stated that face masks don’t limit COVID-19 infections, claiming he didn’t contract the virus because his “immune system is strong” and saying he “don’t believe in it.” the germ theory,” and deemed protective gear on set — like masks and face shields — “pretty preposterous.”
Harrelson and “SNL” officials did not immediately respond to Times requests for comment on Sunday.
Times contributors Marissa Evans, Luke Money, and Rong-Gong Lin II contributed to this report.