Woody Harrelson Unloads On Hollywood Covid Protocols, Vaccine Mandates

cohle and hart arguing in true detective
(Image credit: HBO)

It’s been three years since the world went into lockdown following the global pandemic. Movie Theaters were closed during that time. Theme Parks were shut down. While the world has largely returned to normal now, and most of the safety requirements that were once in effect no longer are, there are a few places where people are still expected to mask and test and that includes Hollywood productions. Self-proclaimed anarchist Woody Harrelson is not a fan.

Speaking with the New York Times ahead of the release of his new film Champions, Harrelson is honest that he’s frustrated by the rules. He makes it clear that he doesn’t agree with the decisions to force people to mask and vaccinate in order to work on productions, without exception. But he’s also got some more specific complaints about the fact that mandates are still being enforced, and that they are not enforced equally. Harrelson says… 

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]. It makes me angry for the crew. The anarchist part of me, I don’t feel that we should have forced testing, forced masking and forced vaccination. That’s not a free country.

Certainly, there are some people that agree with the Natural Born Killers star on this one. Requirements over masking and vaccinations in various corners of society led to constant battles between people even three years ago when they were new and the pandemic was having a more significant impact on daily life. 

The NYT interviewer follows this up by pointing out that people tend to have bad judgment when it comes to assessing risk, and Harrelson doesn’t disagree, but he reiterates that he’s an anarchist. If that’s your worldview, you’re going to have a problem with any rules that limit individual freedom, no matter the reason they exist.

Hollywood productions were closed down for months just like the rest of the world when the pandemic started. We saw numerous film productions shut down due to covid outbreaks once filming actually started again. Tom Cruise, whose opinions on the pandemic rules were very different than Harrelson, saw his Mission: Impossible movie closed on multiple times

But it also sounds like Woody Harrelson might be more amenable to Covid protocols if they were implemented more fairly. He says that as an actor he’s able to get out of wearing a mask, and he isn't required to test as often as the crew on the set. So there are probably a lot more people who would share this particular frustration. 

Most places have relaxed their pandemic requirements, and if Hollywood productions haven’t done so yet, it seems likely that will happen soon. As Harrelson himself points out, it has been three years since all this started, and for better or worse, the world is in a very different place than it was three years ago. Hopefully, this is something that we never have to deal with again. If we do, we can guess how Woody Harrelson will feel about it. 

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.