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Woody Harrelson under fire for sharing Covid conspiracy theory on Saturday Night Live

Woody Harrelson has caused controversy by making an anti-vax joke during his opening monologue on Saturday Night Live.

Appearing on last night’s episode (25 February), the True Detective star, 61, told a long and rambling story about the “craziest script” he’s ever read.

He took about six minutes to get to the punchline, after getting distracted talking about smoking weed, his love of drinking and what kind of tree he was sitting against when he read the script.

Eventually, he concluded: “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.”

The actor told an awkwardly quiet crowd: “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.”

Harrelson’s monologue was criticised by many. “Thank you, @nbcsnl, for Woody Harrelson’s insipid anti-vax monologue,” producer Lee Goldberg posted. “Who are they going to have guest host next week, Scott Adams?”

Adams is a cartoonist whose works have been pulled from numerous US newspapers after he made racist comments.

Another Harrelson critic tweeted: “It’s not just some harmless view given the disinformation and a platform like SNL should know better.”

“What on earth was this anti-vax nonsense,” commented a third.

Twitter owneer Elon Musk, meanwhile, praised Harrelson for his words. “So based. Nice work,” he wrote. “Based” is slang for being unafraid to be yourself and say what you think.

This is not the first time Harrelson has raised eyebrows with his views regarding the Covid pandemic. In an interview with Vanity Fair, he said of mask-wearing: “As one who doesn’t believe in the germ theory, I find it rather absurd.”

He also shared a since-deleted Instagram post that linked 5G and Covid, calling it “very interesting”.