Vaccine mandates vs. unvaccinated stars, Brian Williams to leave MSNBC

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Rapper and actor Ice Cube recently decided to drop out of a movie rather than get vaccinated. He gives up a $9 million job by doing so. Photo by Philip Litevsky/Wikicommons

Hollywood studios are tightening up their COVID-19 vaccine requirements. This is a safety issue but also a financial one. When unvaccinated actor Miles Teller tested positive on the set of the series “The Offer,” it cost Paramount $6 million to shut down production. 

Recently rapper and actor Ice Cube dropped out of the Sony comedy “Oh Hell No” because he refused to get vaccinated, giving up a $9 million job.  Unvaccinated actor Ingo Rademacher is leaving “General Hospital,” and Emilio Estevez is not coming back to the new season of the “Mighty Ducks” series, also because of his unvaccinated status. 

Meanwhile, production on “Wakanda Forever,” the sequel to “Black Panther,” is temporarily shut down as star Letitia Wright recovers from an injury. Wright is also unvaccinated, and while the movie had been shooting in London, production was supposed to move to the U.S., but Wright won’t be able to enter the country if she’s not vaccinated. That puts Marvel in a difficult position as Wright was supposed to be a huge part of the new movie. 

And while unvaccinated NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers is not in Hollywood, his partner Shailene Woodley is. Woodley is currently working on a Showtime series, which means she should be vaccinated, but it’s unclear if she is. Woodley has been vocal about making her own medicine rather than taking it from doctors. It’s possible she could have received a religious exemption, but she told The Hollywood Reporter, “My religion is the Earth, man. I believe in trees.” 

Meanwhile, in the world of cable news, Brian Williams has announced he’ll be stepping down from MSNBC at the end of the year. Williams was embroiled in scandal in 2015 for exaggerating claims about his reporting experience during the Iraq War. 

Since then, he’s worked hard to gain back credibility and has been hosting the MSNBC show “The 11th Hour.” But the economics of cable news aren’t what they used to be. Ratings have been plummeting, especially with Trump out of office. 

His departure will leave a big hole for MSNBC, which is also grappling with the forthcoming changes with Rachel Maddow, as she switches from a daily show to a weekly one. Now the cable networks must focus on how they can break into streaming, which is what CNN is attempting to do in 2022 with CNN+.

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