Letitia Wright’s vaccination beliefs are still an understandably sensitive issue. For many who have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis, her sharing vaccine-skeptical content two years ago remains a point of contention. Wright apologized, and in a recent Guardian interview said that sharing the anti-vax post was “not me” (though she continues to dodge explicit questions about her own vaccination). Cast and crew members also denied reports that Wright was evangelizing about her anti-vax status on the set of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
It’s still a controversy, sure, but putting her name beside someone like Brad Pitt, accused of domestic abuse, does not feel like a fair comparison. Yet The Hollywood Reporter attempted to examine these controversies–as well as Will Smith’s slap—on equal footing for an awards season lead-up, and Wright was reasonably upset by it.
“I had to unblock @TheHollywoodReporter just to post this. Scott Feinberg and all at this publication. You’re incredibly disrespectful,” the actor wrote on her Instagram story (via The Daily Beast). “How dare you. You mentioned my name alongside men who have been accused of abuse and & sexual misconduct.”
Beyond Pitt and Smith, the article also name-dropped a litany of other past controversial Oscar winners and hopefuls, such as Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Mel Gibson, Casey Affleck, Gary Oldman, Nate Parker, and more. Wright is the only woman mentioned on this list of “problematic” performers, past or present. There is no mention, for instance, of TÁR frontrunner Cate Blanchett, who won her last Oscar for a film directed by Allen and later said that social media is “not the judge and jury” in reference to the allegations of sexual abuse against him.
(Some fans have pointed out that Wright seems to have faced much more scrutiny for her anti-vax controversy than fellow Marvel star Evangeline Lilly, who has not only posted about her issues with the vaccine but actively protested against mandates at a DC rally. Lilly wouldn’t have been mentioned in this particular piece as she is not at all involved in awards season, but it will be interesting to see if Lilly is held to the same standard of accountability when Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania is released.)
Furthermore, Feinberg’s piece acknowledges that of the actors mentioned, Wright “may also have the weakest case for a nomination anyway.” No actor from the Marvel Cinematic Universe has yet been nominated for their work in the superhero films, and while Angela Bassett is receiving some buzz for her performance, Wright’s name hasn’t truly been in the awards season conversation. It’s not just the comparison of scandals that’s apples to oranges; it seems to be a case of dragging her name where it doesn’t belong on multiple levels.
“I’ve remained silent as the world told me to kill myself two years ago for a video I posted and apologised for,” Wright wrote in another post. “At this point, a personal vendetta towards me. I’ve done nothing wrong but respectfully refused to do interviews with this publication. Stop your nonsense. I apologized TWO years ago. Remained silent on the topic.”
“You lied and said I continued talking about it with my cast & crew on my set. THIS WAS NOT TRUE. ASK MY PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR,” she argued. “The film was successful. Your agenda towards me is now even more clear. I won’t remain silent. Stop your disgusting behavior.”