Hollywood is just as bad at taking the vaccine as the rest of the United States.
Let's get this out of the way up front: if you are vaccinated against COVID-19, you have less of a chance of dying. You have less of a chance of going to the hospital. And you have less of a chance of spreading it to others.
Unless you have a designated medical issue for not being vaccinated, you should be vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine is free to get and highly effective. If the country, and the world, want to get back to some sense of normalcy, vaccination is the way to go.
You can get more vaccine facts from the CDC.
Of course, Hollywood is having a problem with the vaccine. Even though it's available, not everyone is getting it. Those who don't get it risk exposing their coworkers to the virus. And that's been happening more and more over the last few weeks.
Today, the Hollywood Reporter published a story about an unnamed A-list actor who didn't wear masks and didn't get vaccinated. He wound up in the hospital, his shoot was delayed three weeks, and he infected over a dozen colleagues. This is the height of selfish behavior and on-set danger. It's also indicative of the battle Hollywood is raging right now.
2020 was a terrible year where many were out of work and just trying to survive. The announcement of a vaccine gave hope to so many workers above and below the line. We were ready to get back to work. But while some people like Sean Penn have mandated everyone on set be vaccinated, Hollywood has been slow to catch up to these requests. And it's costing people's jobs. It could cost them their lives.
Recently, on the Paramount+ show The Offer, a dramatization about the making of the Godfather, one of the main cast members who was unvaccinated caught COVID and cost the show six million dollars when they had to halt production to quarantine and test.
Thankfully, some stars are speaking out.
George Clooney recently said, “It’s stupid. And it’s stupid because every generation in our country for more than a lifetime has been asked to sacrifice something for the safety of their fellow man—get shot, fight Nazis. All that anyone’s being asked here is to get a shot in the arm and put on a mask. Grow up. Get something done.”
Studios see this as a money issue, so they would generally like everyone to be vaccinated. But they are dealing with some stars who refuse. And they already made an agreement with some unions on various projects that as long as they test, people don't have to be vaccinated. This all gets complicated as studios are trying to have even stricter mandates moving forward.
On sets now, crew members are split into various zones. Zone A is the director, cinematographer and stars, and writer. Zone B is another subset of the crew, and it goes like that for the rest of the teams. While agreements can require the stars to be vaccinated since they usually don't wear masks, they cannot require the crews right now.
This is because the AMPTP-Hollywood’s union protocols will remain in effect until Oct. 31, 2021. At that time, they could renegotiate and try to get a blanket COVID vaccine mandate, but many wonder if that is possible.
Remember that Sean Penn anecdote? He eventually had to return to set two months later because NBCUniversal was unable to get everyone vaccinated, but they were able to get all the stars in his show to get the shot, which they said he was okay compromising on. But the crew remained left to their own devices. NBCUniversal only requires Zone A members to be fully vaccinated.
Disney is moving to a "wristband" system, that tells everyone on set who is and is not vaccinated.
There have been no perfect solutions, outside of encouraging everyone to take the shot.
Sean Penn told THR, “We’ve normalized this notion of radical libertarianism, and it really is a violation of the idea of interconnectedness.”
But that's not the feeling for all actors.
Black-ish actor Anthony Anderson told THR, "Each individual has his or her own rights. We aren’t in control of anyone’s body, only that person is. I’m vaccinated because I have preexisting conditions as a Type 2 diabetic, so I wanted to make sure that I did whatever I could to stave off this pandemic and COVID. But I’m not here to judge anyone on what they should do with their body. I can only govern what I’m doing with mine. As long as they respect me, I respect them. And as long as we keep our 6-foot distance and wear a mask, then we can interact and do what we want to do. But it’s not my place to police anyone.”
The issue with Anderson's message is that on a set you can't always keep a distance. They can require masks, but what happens if you shoot in close quarters all day? What happens if that person is your co-star?
The spread of the Delta variant is rampant, and most of the reason is that not enough people were vaccinated to control it. As we get deeper into this pandemic, we have to make sure it does not mutate again.
And if you want to work in Hollywood safely, we hope you get the vaccine. Everyone wants to get back into production. Everyone wants to have steady paychecks and safety on set. But that requires everyone to take precautions. Especially the rich and famous, whose careers can survive a three-week stint in the hospital, while many crew members can not.
Let us know what you think in the comments.