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Disney to implement vaccine sticker system to separate staff as debate ‘tears Hollywood apart’

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Hollywood stars are more divided over whether to get a COVID-19 vaccination than it appears to most outsiders as studios struggle with new requirements and mandates amid the lingering pandemic.

The Hollywood Reporter noted that the Walt Disney Co. is introducing a sticker system that will be required on the sets of its television and movie productions as a means distinguishing who among staff has been vaccinated.

The system will be introduced this month on all new productions as a means of providing quickly referenced, visual proof of vaccination status, the outlet noted. People who are working on projects in “Zone A,” which is closest to the actors, will be required to wear a vaccination wristband, while others will not have to do so.

“Vaccine debate is tearing Hollywood apart. Case in point: Letitia Wright quietly parted ways w/ her entire US team of reps in wake of backlash over posting a controversial anti-vaxx video in December,” Tatiana Siegel, one of The Hollywood Reporter’s journalists who worked on the story, tweeted Wednesday.

The outlet explained that a high-profile actor was working on a film in August and came down with COVID-19, leading to hospitalization. The star was known to the cast and crew as shunning vaccines and masks and was not himself vaccinated. The film had to be shut down for three weeks after more than a dozen other crewmembers got ill, according to sources. The work stoppage cost the production company seven figures.

The outlet did not identify the actor “because he didn’t flout any specific protocol on the project.”

Actors and crew not taking a vaccine have angered other A-listers, however, including George Clooney, who called shunning them “crazy.”

“It’s stupid. And it’s stupid because every generation in our country for more than a lifetime has been asked to sacrifice something for the safety of their fellow man — get shot, fight Nazis,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “All that anyone’s being asked here is to get a shot in the arm and put on a mask. Grow up. Get something done.”

But other stars including Rob Schneider, who is currently filming “Home Team” for Netflix and Letitia Wright, who is shooting “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” for Marvel Studios, have taken to social media to rip vaccine mandates.

However, Disney’s decision is also controversial because it essentially forces staffers to reveal private medical information to colleagues. And non-vaccinated people may be subjected to discriminatory practices will on the job as a result of being forced to disclose their status.

The Hollywood Reporter went on to note that currently, there is no industry-wide vaccine mandate so actors and stage crew are experiencing a patchwork of mandates and rules moving from one project to another.

Netflix, as well as WarnerMedia, have both implemented vaccine mandates as well.

But Disney thus far appears to be the only studio requiring visual proof of vaccination status.

“Each individual has his or her own rights. We aren’t in control of anyone’s body, only that person is,” “Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson told THR.

“I’m vaccinated because I have preexisting conditions as a Type 2 diabetic, so I wanted to make sure that I did whatever I could to stave off this pandemic and COVID,” he continued.

“But I’m not here to judge anyone on what they should do with their body. I can only govern what I’m doing with mine. As long as they respect me, I respect them,” he explained.

“And as long as we keep our 6-foot distance and wear a mask, then we can interact and do what we want to do. But it’s not my place to police anyone.”

Jon Dougherty

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