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Letitia Wright faced a Twitter backlash Thursday night after posting a link to a YouTube video questioning whether people should take any prospective COVID-19 vaccine and the safety of vaccines generally.
The Black Panther star tweeted a video from On the Table, a YouTube discussion channel, where the presenter opined at length about the efficacy of vaccines, the dangers of taking them and the supposed origins of the ingredients of a COVID-19 vaccine. “I don’t understand vaccines medically, but I’ve always been a little bit of a skeptic of them,” the presenter Tomi Arayomi says toward the beginning of his monologue, which was full of unsubstantiated claims, amid personal anecdotes and his own feelings on vaccines generally.
After Wright posted the video to Twitter with the prayer hands emoji, she quickly became embroiled in arguments with users taking her to task for using her platform to spread misinformation on vaccines. The British actress, who is currently starring in Steve McQueen’s acclaimed Small Axe anthology series, countered that she wasn’t against vaccines but thought it was important to “ask questions.”
“I think it’s valid and fair to simply ask what’s in it,” she replied to one user.
Following a torrent of Twitter users admonishing her for posting the video, Wright tweeted, “if you don’t conform to popular opinions. but ask questions and think for yourself….you get cancelled.”
Late on Thursday night, Wright’s Marvel Cinematic Universe co-star Don Cheadle was drawn into the controversy. The Iron Man star responded to Twitter users tagging him about Wright’s tweets, replying that he will bring up the issue with her directly. After seeing portions of the YouTube video, he tweeted, “jesus… just scrolled through. hot garbage. every time i stopped and listened, he and everything he said sounded crazy and fkkkd up. i would never defend anybody posting this. but i still won’t throw her away over it. the rest i’ll take off twitter. had no idea.”
Hours after engaging with Twitter users about the video, Wright posted another message early Friday morning.
“My intention was not to hurt anyone,” she wrote. “My ONLY intention of posting the video was it raised my concerns with what the vaccine contains and what we are putting in our bodies. Nothing else.”
As of early Friday morning, it also appeared that Wright’s initial tweet, with the video, had been taken down, but her exchanges with fellow Twitter users remained live.
Wright plays Shuri in the Black Panther franchise, and with the sequel to the 2018 hit set to begin production in July in the wake of star Chadwick Boseman’s death, some have said Wright’s character may take on a more prominent role.
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Wright’s reps for comment.
Dec. 4, 6:11 a.m. This story has been updated with the latest tweet from Wright, background about Black Panther 2 and that the initial video tweet she posted has been taken down.
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