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Many Shazam! fans were shocked this weekend when Zachary Levi, who stars in the popular DC superhero franchise, said he was in “hardcore” agreement that COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer Pfizer “is a real danger to the world.” Levi followed up his tweet by doubling down and sharing a link to a Justice.gov press release about Pfizer paying $2.3 billion as part of a fraud settlement back in 2009. “Just one example of what I’m referring to…” he tweeted alongside the link.
The Daily Beast reached out to Levi’s representative to confirm whether or not he identifies as an anti-vaxxer, and we’ll update this article in the event of a response.
But it’s not the first time that Levi, an affable presence previously lauded for his titular role on the NBC show Chuck, has raised eyebrows with his controversial takes. Earlier this month, the actor posted a clip of his appearance on the Shawn Stevenson podcast The Model Health Show in which he rails against American pharmaceutical companies’ advertisements.“We are carte blanche, ‘Do whatever you want, do the imagery of a guy and a girl on a date having a... throw that football through that tire, be in that tub, whatever it is, you know, and barely talk about the side effects,’” he says in the clip.
The Levi-Pfizer controversy has also had many people resurfacing a clip of the actor on The Joe Rogan Experience and expressing his admiration for Jordan Peterson, the right-wing, all-meat-diet-obsessed self-help guru. Levi called Peterson “one of the deepest thinkers I’ve ever heard break down, like, human behavior.” Notably, that episode was released not long after Peterson had been suspended from Twitter for his anti-transgender comments about the actor Elliot Page; in the clip, Levi does not correct Rogan after the host deadnames Page.
While everyone is dragging Zachary Levi for this, don't forget he was just one Rogan's show admiring a transphobe & didn't say a word when Rogan misgendered Elliot Page. He's scum.pic.twitter.com/656kJbkVMa https://t.co/JTslUEnHyC
— Wolffe | 🏳️⚧️🐺 (@LothWolffe) January 29, 2023
Again, this is not the first time Levi has been called out for his public political views. In 2018, he was chastised for a tweet regarding white men leading conversations about racism and sexism. “Saying that men can’t lead meaningful conversations about sexism, and that white people can’t lead meaningful conversations about racism, is both sexist and racist,” he said. “Truth doesn’t care about privilege, nor do those who seek it.”
And back in 2020, Levi ruffled feathers with social media posts in which he appeared to empathize with Trump voters. Days after Joe Biden’s presidential victory, Levi wrote on Instagram, “My hope and prayer is that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris answer that very call, in the same way I hoped and prayed that Donald Trump would do the same.” In a tweet that same day, he said, “I am no fan or supporter of Trump, and I find his behavior to be vulgar, callous, narcissistic, and lacking empathy. And while I’m not a Conservative, I know many who backed 45 not because they liked him, but because he was the only candidate they felt cared about their needs.”
“Should’ve stopped here,” one person replied, erasing the rest of Levi’s tweet after the first sentence.
Furthermore, Levi, who identifies as a Christian, gave an interview last year to CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network), the network founded by The 700 Club Pat Robertson, who has a history of homophobic and sexist comments.
Unfortunately for DC fans, this whole situation has cast a shadow over the release of the long-awaited sequel Shazam! Fury of the Gods, due out in March. Needless to say, that should be an interesting press cycle for Levi and for the already embattled studio, which has long been cursed by plenty of messy behind-the-scenes drama.