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Stars who drew backlash for their controversial views on coronavirus

Too many hot takes? While the world hunkers down into self-quarantine during the widespread coronavirus outbreak, some celebrities have used their extra free time to share controversial opinions about the global pandemic.

Vanessa Hudgens

The High School Musical star faced intense backlash for her remarks about an extended period of social distancing due to the coronavirus. "Yeah, ’til July sounds like a bunch of bulls–t. I’m sorry,” she said during a live Q&A via Instagram on March 16. “It’s a virus, I get it. I respect it. But at the same time, like, even if everybody gets it … yeah, people are gonna die. Which is terrible but, like, inevitable?” One day later she apologized saying in a video posted via her Instagram Story, “Hey guys, I’m so sorry for the way I have offended anyone and everyone who has seen the clip from my Instagram live yesterday,” she wrote on Tuesday. “I realize my words were insensitive and not at all appropriate for the situation our country and the world are in right now. This has been a huge wake up call about the significance my words have, now more than ever.”

Evangeline Lilly

“I am living with my father at the moment, who has stage four leukemia," the Canada native wrote via Instagram on March 16 in response to a user who questioned why she was still taking her children to extracurricular activities. "I am also immune-compromised at the moment,” the actress responded to one Instagram user. “I have two young kids. Some people value their lives over freedom, some people value freedom over their lives. We all make our choices.”


The singer came under fire on March 22 when she called coronavirus the “great equalizer” in a video from her bathtub. "That's the thing about COVID-19. It doesn't care about how rich you are, how famous you are, how funny you are, how smart you are, where you live, how old you are, what amazing stories you can tell,” Madonna said in a video shared via Instagram. “What's terrible about it is that it's made us all equal in many ways — and what's wonderful about it is that it's made us all equal in many ways. Like I used to say at the end of 'Human Nature' every night, we are all in the same boat. And if the ship goes down, we're all going down together."

Kevin Spacey

The House of Cards alum compared people losing their jobs amid the pandemic to himself losing work opportunities due to his multiple sexual assault allegations in a March video interview. "I don't think it will come as a surprise for anyone to say that my world completely changed in the fall of 2017. My job, many of my relationships, my standing in my own industry, were all gone in just a matter of hours," Spacey said in a video message for the Bits and Pretzels Virtual Founders Breakfast. "I don't often like to tell people that I can relate to their situation because I think it undermines the experience that they may be having, which is their own unique and very personal experience. But in this instance, I feel as though I can relate to what it feels like to have your world suddenly stop."

Jack Osbourne

The Portal to Hell host raised eyebrows with a crude joke about the origins of the novel coronavirus. "Here's the thing, I'm not letting a disease started by bats kill my dad. That's not how this is going," he told Entertainment Tonight in April. "This is not some giant revenge plot from bats to get back at my dad." While he intended it as a simple joke about Ozzy Osbourne's iconic 1982 bat bite, many found the comment to be insensitive to the realities of the crisis.

Dr. Oz

The Dr. Oz Show host said in a Twitter video on April 16 that he “misspoke” after calling the idea of reopening schools “appetizing” during a Fox News interview.

Ellen DeGeneres

The comedian received an onslaught of backlash after she joked on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on April 6 that quarantining at her $27 million mansion “is like being in jail.” She added, “It’s mostly because I’ve been wearing the same clothes for 10 days and everyone in here is gay.” Twitter users were quick to call out DeGeneres for her joke, pointing out that inmates at overcrowded prisons are susceptible to COVID-19.

Roseanne Barr

The Roseanne alum shared her hot take on Norm Macdonald’s YouTube show on April 5, saying, “I think they’re just trying to get rid of all my generation. The boomer ladies that, you know, that inherited their, you know, are widows. They inherited the money, so they got to go wherever the money is and figure out a way to get it from people.”