Media outlets criticized Woody Harrelson as “anti-vax” and spreading “COVID-19 conspiracy” in his Saturday Night Live monologue .
Harrelson, who has previously guest-hosted the long-running variety show, appeared to criticize the response to COVID-19 and the subsequent push for vaccines in his monologue. The former Cheers star jokingly said he turned down a movie script about politicians and media outlets being “purchased” by drug cartels who lock residents in their homes and force them to take their product.
Although Harrelson didn’t explicitly mention COVID-19 or vaccination, media outlets ran stories suggesting the Saturday Night Live guest-host spread “anti-vax” and “COVID conspiracy” during his 7-minute opening monologue.
Rolling Stone referred to Harrelson as a “9/11 truther,” while Variety criticized the actor for a previous interview with the outlet referring to mask-wearing as “absurd.” Other outlets — including People, the Daily Beast, and Forbes — similarly criticized Harrelson.
Woody Harrelson: "The biggest drug cartels in the world get together and buy up all the media…"
— kanekoa.substack.com (@KanekoaTheGreat) February 26, 2023
“So the movie goes like this: the biggest drug cartels in the world get together and buy up all the media and all the politicians and force all the people in the world to stay locked in their homes,” Harrelson says toward the end of his monologue to scant reaction from the audience. “And people can only come out if they take the cartel’s drugs and keep taking them over and over.”
“I threw the script away,” he continued. “I mean, who was going to believe that crazy idea? Being forced to do drugs? I do that voluntarily all day.”
Earlier in the monologue, the guest-host joked about his political views by suggesting he was “red” for believing people should own guns and “blue” — noting he was referring to “squirt guns.”
Other celebrities have expressed criticism of the response to COVID-19 and subsequent vaccination push including The Shawshank Redemption star Tim Robbins.
“We became aware of the idea that the vaccinated could spread [the virus] and catch it like the unvaccinated … to continue the policy of lockdowns or mandates after that didn’t seem to be following the science. It was following a political agenda. That’s where I really started to have problems with it,” Robbins said during a December appearance on comedian Russel Brand’s podcast Stay Free With Russel Brand.
“I’m not a scientist; I’m not a doctor. I don’t know the intricacies of data on [COVID-19],” he continued. “All I can respond to is … as someone who is concerned about what the result of those doctrines, that policy had on us as human beings.”
“We turned into tribal, angry, vengeful people … I don’t think that is something that is sustainable for the earth that we start demonizing people that don’t agree with our particular health policies and turn them into monsters … pariahs,” he said, criticizing the sentiment that people averse to COVID-19 precautions and vaccination don’t deserve hospital beds.
“The WHO changed its protocol on virus outbreaks,” he said. “In the past you locked down the vulnerable, but you let society go on so it can build its herd immunity. This was changed as well. We went into lockdown with healthy people and children.”