Culture

8 Celebrities Who Are Famously Anti-Vax

By Gwen Farrell··  6 min read
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antivax celebrities

For some inexplicable reason, our pop culture-focused media seems to be obsessed with celebrities going against the grain of what’s socially acceptable. That includes, but certainly isn’t limited to, the shock and horror of a celebrity being “anti-vax.”

A quick search yields results like “A Guide to 17 Anti-Vaccination Celebrities” and “10 Celebrities Who Have Made Anti-Vax Statements” and many, many similar posts. Being against vaccines before the dawn of the Covid jab was certainly regarded as misguided or as reason for ostracization – now vaccines are practically inviolable. With that in mind, have Hollywood’s most famous celebrities reneged on their most notable quirk, or stuck to their guns? Let’s take a look.

Letitia Wright

Black Panther’s feisty Shuri, played by British and Guyanese actress Letitia Wright, drew ire from Marvel fans and social media warriors alike for posting an “anti-vaccine mandate” video to her Twitter account last December. The video called into question vaccine efficacy and voiced skepticism, which always seems to stir up controversy. Wright was swiftly attacked for the post, to which she responded, “If you don’t conform to popular opinions but ask questions and think for yourself…you get canceled.”  Wright closed her Twitter account and even severed ties with her American representatives.

Additionally, an unnamed “source” recently told The Hollywood Reporter that Wright openly shared her criticisms of the Covid vaccine on the set of Black Panther 2, leading to another wave of backlash.

Doutzen Kroes

In 2013, the Dutch model and former Victoria's Secret Angel Doutzen Kroes tweeted her disapproval of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and the lack of liability that vaccine manufacturers face. She wrote, "It's makes me angry and sad to know about this!! Let's do something!"

More recently, Doutzen spoke out against the Covid-19 vaccine, writing on Instagram, "I will not be forced to take the shot. I will not be forced to prove my health to participate in society. I will not accept exclusion of people based on their medical status."

Alicia Silverstone

Apart from playing '90s icon Cher Horowitz in Clueless, Alicia Silverstone is a vegan and environmental activist. In her 2014 book, The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning, Silverstone touches on everything from tampons to veganism to breastfeeding “like it’s your destiny.” 

Unsurprisingly enough, she also covers vaccines: “While there has not been a conclusive study of the negative effects of such a rigorous one-size-fits-all, shoot-’em-up schedule, there is increasing anecdotal evidence from doctors who have gotten distressed phone calls from parents claiming their child was ‘never the same’ after receiving a vaccine. And I personally have friends whose babies were drastically affected in this way.” 

As much as our culture is obsessed with fawning over celebrities who tout the Covid jab on their platforms, they’re also just as frenzied at the thought of those who aren’t getting it, of which Silverstone is likely a member.

Jessica Biel

So shocking was Jessica Biel’s supposed anti-vax stance when it was revealed back in 2019 that Rolling Stone called it a “fall from grace,” also declaring that it’s “dangerous” for celebrities to posture on vaccine skepticism or criticism. The fall from grace in question dates back to Biel, actress and wife of Justin Timberlake, lobbying with Senator Robert F. Kennedy against California legislation SB276, a then-proposed bill that limited religious exemptions on vaccination requirements. 

Biel, of course, argued that her media treatment was unjust, citing on Instagram that she was all for children getting vaccinated, but was concerned about the limitations on religious exemptions within the bill. Biel’s apparent faux pas accomplished nothing but outing her to the public as an anti-vaxxer because the legislation was later passed. 

Jenny McCarthy

The former model, Playboy bunny, and media personality made the anti-vax label into a lifestyle before it became an actual movement. McCarthy has always been notably outspoken against vaccines of all shapes and sizes. Her distrust originated after her son Evan was diagnosed with autism, which she believes is related to his receiving the measles vaccine (alluding to disgraced British researcher Andrew Wakefield’s now-defunct but often-cited correlation between vaccines and autism). 

McCarthy has unabashedly spoken about her position publicly for many years and has even written books, as well as presided over the anti-vax awareness group Generation Rescue, saying autism education is her life’s “purpose.” McCarthy has also stated that she’s not “anti-vaccine movement, but pro-safe vaccine.” McCarthy’s Masked Singer producers and co-stars are supposedly worried because she’s been “suspiciously silent” on the Covid jab.

Jim Carrey

Interestingly enough, Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy used to date. In the past, Carrey has publicly stated that while not anti-vaccine, he’s anti thimerosal and anti mercury. Thimerosal is a chemical preservative with mercury in it which began to be included in the chemical makeup of most vaccines in the 1930s to prevent contamination from microbes. While thimerosal has been publicly backed by medical agencies who guarantee its safety, it was removed from most vaccines in 2001. 

Despite this, Carrey’s statements were branded as harmful misinformation and the anti-vax label stuck. Carrey has also publicly denounced mandatory vaccination, blasting the agenda of “the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, [and] vaccine makers.” Carrey has been critical of how the pandemic has been handled, but mum on the vaccine itself so far.

Lisa Bonet

Denise Huxtable is also against mandatory vaccination. In 1990, she stated that vaccines “introduce alien microorganisms into our children’s blood,” potentially resulting in diagnoses like leukemia, MS, and sudden infant death syndrome. For these reasons, Bonet defended not vaccinating her daughter Zoe Kravitz.

Rob Schneider

Rob Schneider, both a 2000s comedy and current controversial Twitter staple, is proudly and publicly anti-vax. He has also opposed California legislation which makes it more difficult for parents to opt out of vaccinating their children, saying, “The parents have to be the ones who make the decisions for what’s best for our kids. It can’t be the government saying that.”

In a separate instance, he told another media outlet, “The doctors are not gonna tell you both sides of the issue. They’re told by the pharmaceutical industry, which makes billions of dollars, that it’s completely safe.” To be completely fair to Schneider, it’s hard to argue with either point. When it comes to the Covid vaccine, Schneider quipped on Twitter: “just say no.”

Closing Thoughts

Here’s your much-needed reminder that the elitist establishment only serves to promote the voices of those they agree with. If you’ve seen these figures (or anyone, really) castigated or maligned in the media recently, it’s because they’ve gone against that agenda. 

It’s also a good time to remind ourselves that language is everything, and when those in power control language, they control the entire narrative and any discourse therein. This is why we’re seeing individuals with concerns over the Covid vax specifically labeled as spreaders of misinformation, or more pejoratively, anti-vax, when in reality their concerns should be warranted and validated, and likely have little to do with traditional vaccines or vaccine practice in theory.

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