Fact Check

Woody Harrelson Was Photographed Wearing RFK Jr. Hat?

A long-time vaccine skeptic, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is running as a Democrat against Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election.

Published Aug 11, 2023

 (Screenshot via Instagram/_cherylhines)
Image Via Screenshot via Instagram/_cherylhines
Claim:
A photograph that circulated in August 2023 authentically showed Cheryl Hines, the wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., with Woody Harrelson, the latter wearing a cap endorsing Kennedy's 2024 presidential campaign.

In August 2023, a photograph surfaced supposedly showing Woody Harrelson wearing a "Kennedy 2024" hat in apparent support for the 2024 presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a long-time vaccine skeptic.

The photograph was real; It was not digitally manipulated. The verified Instagram account for Kennedy's wife, actress Cheryl Hines, posted the photo on Aug. 10, 2023, with the caption: "Great seeing you Woody. ???. #friends #hats #rfkjr."

Harrelson did not share the photograph on his own Instagram account, though Hines tagged him in her post. 

Running as a Democrat against U.S. President Joe Biden, Kennedy has emerged in recent years as a vocal critic of lockdowns to prevent COVID-19 infections and promoter of misinformation surrounding the vaccine.

Harrelson, too, has been critical of COVID-19 lockdowns. Namely, during a live monologue on Saturday Night Live in February 2023, he shared his view while explaining a script he had supposedly read:

So the movie goes like this. The biggest drug cartels in the world get together and buy up all the media and all the politicians and force all the people in the world to stay locked in their homes. And people can only come out if they take the cartel's drugs and keep taking them over and over. I threw the script away. I mean, who was going to believe that crazy idea? Being forced to do drugs? I do that voluntarily all day.

Also, in a February 2023 interview with The New York Times, Harrelson criticized vaccine and masking requirements:

I don't think that anybody should have the right to demand that you're forced to do the testing, forced to wear the mask and forced to get vaccinated three years on. I'm just like, Let's be done with this nonsense. It's not fair to the crews. I don't have to wear the mask. Why should they? Why should they have to be vaccinated? How's that not up to the individual? I shouldn't be talking about this [expletive]. It makes me angry for the crew. The anarchist part of me, I don't feel that we should have forced testing, forced masking and forced vaccination. That's not a free country. Really I'm talking about the crew. Because I can get out of wearing a mask. I can test less. I'm not in the same position they're in, but it's wrong. It's three years. Stop.

Kennedy has asserted that he is not "anti-vaccine," though, as The Associated Press reported, that insistence "doesn't square with his long record of opposition to vaccines." He has made the repeatedly debunked assertion that childhood vaccines cause autism and the false claim that COVID-19 vaccines were developed to control people via microchips.

In addition to vaccine misinformation, Kennedy has incorrectly claimed that an increased use of antidepressants in America is behind the country's rise in school shootings. 

Sources

Huynh, Anjali. "5 Noteworthy Falsehoods Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Has Promoted." The New York Times, 6 July 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/06/us/politics/rfk-conspiracy-theories-fact-check.html. Accessed 11 Aug. 2023.

Marchese, David. "Woody Harrelson Can Play Anyone. It's Being Himself That's Hard." The New York Times, 27 Feb. 2023. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/02/27/magazine/woody-harrelson-interview.html. Accessed 11 Aug. 2023.

Reul, Katie. "Woody Harrelson's 'Saturday Night Live' Monologue Makes COVID Conspiracy Jokes." Variety, 26 Feb. 2023, https://variety.com/2023/tv/news/woody-harrelson-saturday-night-live-monologue-covid-conspiracy-1235536082/. Accessed 11 Aug. 2023.

Sriskandarajah, Ike. "Where Did the Microchip Vaccine Conspiracy Theory Come from Anyway?" Reveal, 5 June 2021, http://revealnews.org/article/where-did-the-microchip-vaccine-conspiracy-theory-come-from-anyway/. Accessed 11 Aug. 2023.

"Woody Harrelson for RFK Jr.? Post with Actor Wearing Kennedy Hat Sees Mixed Response." USA TODAY, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2023/08/11/woody-harrelson-for-rfk-jr-actor-poses-with-kennedy-2024-hat/70574123007/. Accessed 11 Aug. 2023.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.