DC fans react after Zachary Levi shares controversial Pfizer post

Actor Zachary Levi has been met with a strong reaction online after he tweeted that he agrees pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is “a real danger to the world”.

On Sunday (29 January), the 42-year-old Shazam! star responded to entrepreneur Lyndon Wood’s tweet about the company, asking: “Do you agree or not, that Pfizer is a real danger to the world?”

Levi responded simply: “Hardcore agree.”

Though neither the actor nor Wood made any reference to Pfizer’s work producing a Covid-19 vaccine, a lot of fans responded in disagreement and some warned that he was coming across as an “anti-vaxxer”.

“Imagine tweeting this when you have a new movie that’s about to come out,” one person wrote, referring to Levi’s new film Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which is set to release in March.

Another person added: “James Gunn about to reset the whole DC universe reading this tweet.”

One person said: “How to ensure you’re not in the DC reboot in one tweet.”

“Man DC PR really can’t catch a f***ing break can they lmao,” wrote another.

However, in a follow-up tweet, Levi explained the context behind his Pfizer comment.

“Just one example of what I’m referring to,” he said, with a link to a 2009 US Justice Department release announcing the “largest health care fraud settlement in its history”.

The Justice Department said the American pharmaceutical giant and its subsidiary Pharmacia & Upjohn Company Inc have agreed to pay $2.3bn – “the largest health care fraud settlement in the history of the Department of Justice, to resolve criminal and civil liability arising from the illegal promotion of certain pharmaceutical products”.

Following Levi’s tweet, several people pointed out that the Justice Department announcement was from 2009, and that, as part of the settlement, Pfizer also agreed to enter into an expansive corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.

“That agreement provides for procedures and reviews to be put in place to avoid and promptly detect conduct similar to that which gave rise to this matter,” the department said.

A number of fans tagged Mark Ruffalo in response to Levi’s first tweet, with one writing: “For your own sake, please call @MarkRuffalo and beg him to help you understand how celebrities can be outspoken critics of corporate America, Big Pharma, and even Pfizer specifically without playing into antivax propaganda.”

Ruffalo has been an outspoken critic of pharmaceutical companies while supporting the science behind the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines.

Producer Rasmus Rasmussen wrote: “Here I was, actually kind of excited for your movie. But nah. I’m not supporting you now.”

Be Sci founder Matt Wallaert said: “@MarkRuffalo, I know it is DC and Marvel but could we do some sort of intervention here?”

Levi’s Pfizer tweet came two days after Gunn shared the trailer for Shazam! Fury of the Gods.

In December 2022, Levi responded to speculation that he had been replaced as Shazam as part of a shake-up at DC.

The actor responded to a fan who shared their frustration that he allegedly wouldn’t be returning as the superhero, despite being “close friends” with Gunn.

“Oooh, I really wouldn’t go believing everything you see on the internet,” Levi responded. “I’m Gucci… We all Gucci.”

In October 2022, it was announced that Gunn, along with Peter Safran, had been hired as the new co-chair and CEO of DC Studios.

A number of major changes followed, including the removal of Henry Cavill as Superman, the news that Wonder Woman 3 had been shelved, and the pushing back of Black Adam 2.