LONDON — Hollywood actor Letitia Wright has triggered a wave of criticism from fans and followers after sharing anti-vaccination propaganda.
Wright, who starred alongside the late Chadwick Boseman in the hit 2018 “Black Panther” movie,on Thursday posted a video on Twitter that makes unsubstantiated claims about coronavirus vaccines. She was swiftly rebuked for being “irresponsible” and “reckless.”
Among those calling her out was “Avengers: Endgame” co-star Don Cheadle, who on Friday labelled the video “hot garbage,” adding that he would “never defend anybody posting this.”
Wright, who has not responded to NBC News’ request for comment, said she was not against taking a vaccine but simply wanted to ask questions.
“I’m just concerned about what’s in it that’s all,” she initially wrote on Twitter, interacting with fans.
Facing a barrage of comments, the Guyanese-born star defended herself on Friday, tweeting: “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.”
The video Wright shared included a long monologue by Tomi Arayomi, a founder of a Christian ministry.
In it Arayomi said companies and the government were not being transparent and questioned vaccine ingredients. He did not provide evidence for his claims, which echo those of others who have baselessly criticized vaccine use.
The video has garnered more than 35,000 views.
Vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories have boomed during the coronavirus pandemic. At a time when the U.S. faces a surge in cases and deaths, a network of anti-vaxxer activists are finding new audiences, mostly on social media.
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The controversy comes the same week that the United Kingdom became the first western country to formally approve the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, a symbolic milestone in the fight against the pandemic.
But public sentiment about vaccines is mixed. Only 42 percent of Americans said “yes” to whether they’d get a Covid-19 vaccine when available, according to an August YouGov poll.
Meanwhile, rates of hospitalization and death from Covid-19 among Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans are two to four times higher than for whites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fueled by a history of medical experimentation and unequal access to care, people in Black and Latino communities struggling with high Covid-19 rates are among those least likely to get vaccinated, health advocates say.
Last month, eight prominent Black doctors wrote a “love letter to Black America” to encourage people to get the Covid-19 vaccine and overcome vaccine hesitancy and distrust.
Wright, a BAFTA Rising Star in 2019, played Shuri, the tech-genius sister of Boseman’s character in “Black Panther” set in the futuristic Wakanda nation. The film broke new-ground with its predominantly Black cast.
Reuters contributed to this report.