Shazam star Zachary Levi sparked a social media storm after issuing what many thought to be an anti-vax tweet about the pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
The DC movie star was at the centre of a backlash on Twitter after he retweeted a question from anti-vaxxer Lyndon Wood on Sunday (January 29). Wood, an entrepreneur – who describes himself “a factual and truthful conspiracy theorist” – posted a question for his followers, “Do you agree or not, that Pfizer is a real danger to the world?”
Levi retweeted and replied to the question, simply stating: “Hardcore agree.”
Hardcore agree. 😐 https://t.co/goeEf5UQ5s
— Zachary Levi (@ZacharyLevi) January 29, 2023
The tweet was met with a number of opinions. And though neither the Levi or Wood tweets made specific reference to Pfizer’s work producing a COVID-19 vaccine, a lot of fans responded to Levi’s tweet as an anti-vax statement.
One replied, “blocked for disappointing nonsense”. Another called him “stupid” and said they wouldn’t be getting a ticket to see the new Shazam movie. Others simply let gifs do the talking.
One critic implored him to call fellow actor Mark Ruffalo for a chat so he could get a lesson on being anti-corporate but “without playing into antivax propaganda”.
Blocked for disappointing nonsense.
— Dennis Perkins (@DennisPerkins5) January 29, 2023
For your own sake, please call @MarkRuffalo and beg him to help you understand how celebrities can be outspoken critics of corporate America, Big Pharma, and even Pfizer specifically without playing into antivax propaganda.
— Max Kennerly (@MaxKennerly) January 29, 2023
Okay, one less movie ticket to spend money on.
— Marcelo Soares (@msoares) January 29, 2023
DCU PR team currently pic.twitter.com/8uSVkojewN
— Miguel Lozada (@MLozada) January 30, 2023
However, some of Levi’s fans and followers were confused as to what he was specifically agreeing with in relation to the pharmaceutical company.
One asked whether he meant in an “artificially inflating the price of life-saving medicines and vaccines for profit” and not in an “antivaxx conspiracy theory” way”.
Another said they wanted to give Levi the benefit of the doubt and referenced him tweeting about a “fraud” case that had nothing to do with vaccines – which may explain Levi’s tweet as being unrelated to an anti-vaccine stance.
Please tell me you mean in an “artificially inflating the price of life saving medicines and vaccines for profit” and not in an “antivaxx conspiracy theory” way, man. It’s so hard to tell these days.
— Caroline Rigby (@carolinevrigby) January 29, 2023
I really really want to give you the benefit of the doubt here, given that you cite in another tweet a fraud settlement that is wholly unrelated to vaccines, but even if you don’t mean vaccines (and I deeply hope you don’t), you’re giving aid to those who do. Please delete.
— Daniel Summers, MD (@WFKARS) January 29, 2023
Can we have clarification on whether this is towards just towards big pharma and/or the vaccine. Your fans take different approaches depending on your meaning and we just want to make sure.
— TK Brewster (@tkbrewster) January 30, 2023
It comes as the actor is gearing up for the release of his latest DC blockbuster, Shazam: Fury Of The Gods. The film sees Levi reprise the role of Shazam; the magical superhero alter-ego of the young protagonist Billy Batson.
The film has been one of DC’s most anticipated and will introduce Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu as villains.
Shazam! Fury Of The Gods is released in cinemas on March 17, 2023.