Sean Penn has put his foot down when it comes to safety protocols on the set of “Gaslit,” a limited series about the Watergate scandal.
The Oscar-winning actor has refused to come back to work on the Starz show, which co-stars Julia Roberts, until everyone in the production has been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to reports in Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter.
It is already mandatory for cast and crew who work in what’s known as Zone A — areas of the set where people work in close proximity and often without personal protective equipment — to be vaccinated, but Penn would like to expand the mandate.
The actor reportedly offered to facilitate the vaccination effort through his organization CORE, an emergency relief nonprofit, for free. The organization has provided coronavirus testing and vaccinations to underserved communities during the pandemic.
Penn’s ultimatum comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles goes up due to the prevalence of the delta variant, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates is now the most dominant variant in the United States. Health officials in LA urge residents to wear masks when they’re inside public spaces.
Penn recently slammed former President Donald Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic during a news conference at the Cannes Film Festival. He said the administration “let down” the country and the world with misinformation and “half-truths” about the deadly virus.
“When my team and I would come home from test and vaccination sites at night, particularly during testing under Trump, to maddening news,” Penn said. “It felt like someone with a machine gun gunning down communities that were most vulnerable from a turret at the White House.”
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