Woody Harrelson Under Fire for Spreading Anti-Vax Conspiracies During ‘SNL’ Monologue

The actor compared the launch of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate to a drug cartel pushing product

Woody Harrelson is trending following his fifth “SNL” hosting stint, but not for a funny sketch. The “Champions” actor is drawing criticism for spreading anti-vaccine sentiments in his monologue at the top of the episode, during which he spun a yarn likening the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate to a drug cartel-pushing product.

The rambling monologue found Harrelson speaking about a script he read pre-2020 that foretold the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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. And people can only come out if they take the cartel’s drugs and keep taking them over and over.”

He continued: “I threw the script away — I mean, who was going to believe that crazy idea? Being forced to do drugs? I do that voluntarily all day long.”

It’s unclear how much of this portion of the monologue was written by “SNL” writers and how much was written by Harrelson.

The immediate reaction to Harrelson’s monologue on Twitter ranged from disbelief to anger.

“How on earth did this get to air, honestly,” one user wrote. “Quite aside from the conspiracy mongering in the last minute, the whole thing is a complete mess.”

“It looks like Woody Harrelson announced his retirement last night,” another added.

And tackling the actor’s penchant for weed, another said, “Woody Harrelson is a good example of how there is such a thing as smoking too much weed.”

Unsurprisingly, those who embrace these conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccines are applauding Harrelson’s remarks. Elon Musk gave the move a seal of approval.

Harrelson has spread conspiracy theories before. In 2020, he shared (and later deleted) a post on Instagram about “the negative effects of 5G.” And in a 2022 interview with Vanity Fair, he called masking “absurd” and said he “doesn’t believe in germ theory.”

The “SNL” stint was Harrelson’s fifth time hosting, and many expected the monologue to be packed with celebrity cameos as is usually the case when a host enters the Five-Timers club. Instead, after a running gag about not getting his Five-Timers jacket, Harrelson was presented with one during the “goodnights” segment of the show by Scarlett Johansson.

The monologue, meanwhile, still made headlines.