Letitia Wright was introduced to international audiences in Black Panther as Shuri, the tech genius sister of T’Challa, and has mostly been talked about as a possible replacement holder of the titular superhero mantle. However, she is now coming under fire for tweeting a link to an anti-vax YouTube video questioning the veracity of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The video in question was posted by On the Table, a self-styled “controversial” series discussing various social issues, in which host Tomi Arayomi lays out his skepticism of the vaccine’s legitimacy and ultimate expediency. Since Wright posted the video with no additional comment, it was taken as her tacit agreement with its content, to which many people took exception.
Antivax isn’t an option. It’s sheer stupidity.
— Mr Amedeo Felix 🏁🎨🎭🎼🎬 (@MrAFelix) December 4, 2020
Think the vaccine stuff they could have gotten away with by saying she has questions & blah blah.
But the transphobia was blatant.
The Lucifer bit was batshitcrazy.
She also liked tweets about how BP2 should be canceled.
Maybe she wants to be fired so no vaccine?
— Flip the Senate, Georgia! 🌊 (@akuma_river) December 4, 2020
Letitia Wright is an anti-vaxxer and a trump/q anon supporter???? pic.twitter.com/RxrcXoZ9us
— Toria (@toricambridge) December 4, 2020
Why isn’t she canceled? She’s a transphobic anti-vaxxer. That sounds like a prime cancelation target to me.
— Taquito (@geenadavisdaddy) December 4, 2020
We get it but this is not the time to go against the grain just for the hell of it people are still dying every day the purpose of this vaccine is to save lives! If you don’t have anything that will save lives pls stfu so these medical professionals can get back to doing it
— i rly hate bugs (@shesheisty) December 4, 2020
No girl you spread false and harmful information to 366k people, you get criticized for it, learn the difference
— blake (@blakealombardo) December 4, 2020
not the anti vaxx, covid conspiracy, AND transphobia…. shuri deserves a better actress than that cus i know DAMN well she would punch a transphobe.
— 🦋🌙 *✧ reyas *✧🌙🦋 (@strifekind1) December 4, 2020
also asking questions and promoting conspiracy youtube videos about antivax are not the same thing. one is valid, the other is spreading dangerous information that literally harms people.
— there is no gender in ba sing se (@dietmangojuul) December 4, 2020
There is nothing wrong with asking questions. But you can also read the studies and the literature. You have a platform, you could ask physicians and virologists too. And you still can.
— Xay (@xayide) December 4, 2020
You’re not asking any questions, rather you’re using your huge platform to spread misinformation & then getting upset at people pushing back on that. Do better.
— emoBlackthoughts (@aspiringdreamer) December 4, 2020
Yes, the speed at which the vaccine was developed may make some suspicious, but that merely indicates gaps in their understanding, such as those of Arayomi, who freely admits he doesn’t understand vaccines in spite of the proclaimed medial background of his parents, and attempts to make up for this with rambling hyperbole.
There is generally very little money in producing vaccines, but the way that COVID has crippled the economies of most of the world’s richest countries, it was in the best interest of financiers to ensure its swift development. Thus, an unprecedented level of funding was provided to aid researchers, resulting in it being ready at a far swifter pace than usual.
While Wright is certainly within her rights to post whatever she feels strongly about, that doesn’t make her immune to people’s reactions to those posts, particularly a video about an important topic whose presenter makes clear his lack of authority on the subject. She also didn’t do herself any favors by wheeling out the “think for yourself” line in her defense, which general translates as “disagree with people who understand something better than you ever will.”
The goodwill Letitia Wright has with fans may allow them to forgive her this one transgression, but for some it will remain a blemish on an otherwise spotless record.