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Growing Number of Hollywood Actors Call for End to COVID Mandates

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A growing number of actors and celebrities have called for an end to COVID-19-related mandates, with “Cheers” star Woody Harrelson saying that the United States is “not a free country” because of such measures.

During a recent New York Times interview, Harrelson was asked what he thinks is “absurd about the COVID protocols.” He replied, “The fact that they’re still going on.”

“I don’t think that anybody should have the right to demand that you’re forced to do the testing, forced to wear the mask, and forced to get vaccinated three years on,” the “True Detective” actor said.

“I’m just like, let’s be done with this nonsense,” Harrelson said, remarking that “it’s not fair to the crews. I don’t have to wear the mask. Why should they? Why should they have to be vaccinated? How’s that not up to the individual? I shouldn’t be talking about this [expletive].”

“I don’t feel that we should have forced testing, forced masking, and forced vaccination,” Harrelson added. “That’s not a free country,” he warned, saying that “really I’m talking about the crew. Because I can get out of wearing a mask. I can test less. I’m not in the same position they’re in, but it’s wrong. It’s three years. Stop.”

Harrelson’s interview with the NY Times comes after he delivered an opening monologue during “Saturday Night Live” last week in which he similarly criticized COVID-19 vaccine mandates and pharmaceutical companies. After that, a number of mainstream media outlets published headlines this week that accused Harrelson of spreading “conspiracy theories.”

Fran Drescher
SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher speaks onstage during the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles on Feb. 26, 2023. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

A day later, SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher, who previously starred in 1990s sitcom “The Nanny,” called for an end to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other rules during the SAG Awards on Sunday night.

“As the nation declares an end to the COVID emergency this May, I hope we will see everyone return to work in equal opportunity,” said 65-year-old Drescher, while using an expletive to describe the mandates.

Several months ago, she said on social media that “to think that every human on the planet can take one vaccine is ludicrous, and to make that one vaccine the criteria for who is allowed to work, travel, dine, go to theater … is an infringement on the Disabilities Act, the Freedom of Religion Act, and body sovereignty.”

About a year ago, Marvel star Evangeline Lilly appeared at a Washington rally protesting against vaccine mandates.

“This is not the way,” Lilly said last year. “This is not safe. This is not healthy. This is not love. I understand the world is in fear, but I don’t believe that answering fear with force will fix our problems. I was pro-choice before COVID and I am still pro-choice today.”

LA Relaxes Mandates

Last month, the City of Los Angeles indicated would stop efforts to enforce part of its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees after the city ended its years-long state of emergency.

Also in February, California public health officials announced children in California won’t have to get the COVID-19 vaccine to attend schools. Gov. Gavin Newsom first announced the policy in 2021, saying it would eventually apply to all of California’s 6.7 million public and private schoolchildren.

Newsom ended his use of COVID-19 emergency powers on Feb. 28, three years after the virus first appeared in California.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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