Woody Harrelson and the COVID Cartel

Actor's joke about anti-COVID measures offers a revealing glimpse into the present state of the media and society

Woody Harrelson said the quiet part out loud when he took the stage at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in NYC to host Saturday Night Live late last month.

The Hollywood legend, best known for his work on the television series Cheers and films like White Men Can't Jump and Natural Born Killers, clearly shocked the audience and viewers at home when he used his opening monologue to address the quarantines and vaccines that were imposed upon the world over the past few years. 

And the aftermath of his speech gives us another glimpse into the way the mainstream media machine operates. 

Harrelson broached the topic with a joke about a crazy movie script he read back in November 2019, in which, "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."

"I threw the script away. I mean, who is gonna believe that crazy idea! Being forced to do drugs?" he continued. The audience remained noticeably quiet, only allowing themselves to really laugh when he declared he voluntarily does drugs all day long. 

Sure, he didn't mention COVID, or vaccines, or Pfizer, but there's no mistaking what he was talking about. 

One wonders if his joke was approved by SNL or if he went off-script. It's no secret that the show has a strong liberal bent. Several cast members were upset that Elon Musk, who tweeted criticisms of anti-COVID measures, was asked to host in 2021.

The best part is that after Harrelson's episode aired, the media leaped into action, doing exactly what you would expect the media to do when it’s been bought out by Big COVID, kind of like Harrelson said... 

Rolling Stone reported: "Woody Harrelson Spreads Anti-Vax Conspiracies During "SNL" Monologue," calling his joke "a spiel about the pandemic."

Vanity Fair declared: "Woody Harrelson Really Blew It on SNL." "Taking the stage to float conspiracy theories disguised as provocative humour is both intellectually dishonest and tedious," the outlet lamented. 

A simple Google search shows many more headlines in that vein. And the funny thing is, nothing the actor said can actually be considered a "conspiracy"—it's just true. Does the media think we've forgotten the "two weeks to flatten the curve" that turned into years, or the way the unvaccinated were turned into second-class citizens throughout the world? The US (and other countries) is still, now, in March 2023, requiring visitors to be vaccinated with one of the wondrous vaccines that has CDC approval. 

Of course, Harrelson isn't the first celebrity to say what's not allowed to be said about COVID. Jon Stewart, who hosted Comedy Central's The Daily Show from 1999 to 2015, dropped his own "conspiracy theory" on Stephen Colbert's The Late Show back in June 2021. 

"I think we owe a great debt of gratitude to science. Science has, in many ways, helped ease the suffering of this pandemic, which was more than likely caused by science," Stewart said. 

“There's a novel respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China," Stewart continued. "What do we do? Oh, you know who we could ask? The Wuhan novel respiratory coronavirus lab. The disease is the same name as the lab!" 

And just like with Harrelson, the media jumped into action.

"Words don't really do the segment justice: You just have to watch Stewart slowly lose his mind onstage as Colbert desperately tries to cut to commercial break," Rolling Stone wrote at the time. 

But less than two years later, his conspiracy theory has morphed into government-backed truth. 

Now the US Energy Department is saying the pandemic most likely arose from a laboratory leak, the Wall Street Journal reported just a day after Harrelson took the stage. 

"What's the difference between a conspiracy theory and the truth??? About 6 Months!" Donald Trump Jr. said on Instagram last June. 

A day after the bombshell revelation about the Energy Department, Stewart addressed the topic on his AppleTV+ show The Problem With Jon Stewart, recalling the "swift, immediate" condemnation he faced after his appearance on Colbert’s show. He was accused of being racist against Asian people and of aligning himself with the hated alt-right. 

Stewart isn't into the cancel culture that came after him, he said. "What was stunning to me, I think, was the anger," he added.

Will the Energy Department be canceled? Of course not. Will Stewart get an apology? Of course not. Again, Trump Jr. explained: "Imagine all the "conspiracy theories" that all came true right after it no longer mattered and the leftist got what they wanted."

So, while Jon Stewart is vindicated now, Woody Harrelson still has to wait his turn. In his case, the media is still stuck in 2020, while many people have long been waking up and are firmly in 2023. 

More and more reports are coming out about the negative consequences of locking ourselves away for months at a time and jabbing ourselves with the "cartel's" experimental drugs. 

A bill was even introduced in the Montana state legislature that would make it illegal for COVID-vaccinated people to donate blood. Violations would bring a USD 500 fine.  

But the media will just keep plugging along, pushing whatever narrative is advantageous at the moment. Every now and then, someone with some clout and influence, like Jon Stewart or Woody Harrelson, will speak up and drop some truth; ordinary people will continue to wake up and realize how the media plays us, but will it be enough? Will the media culture change? 

Unfortunately, it probably doesn't matter, as long as those in charge are willing to go along with it. 

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