Fran Drescher finally got the Covid vaccine ‘because I kept losing work!’

Those of us who are older than, what? 35 years old? We remember all of the highs and lows of Fran Drescher’s life. So it’s especially wild to see her as the president of SAG-AFTRA, summoning every nuance of her outer-borough accent to sound every bit like a tough union boss. Drescher has been giving tons of interviews since she broke off the “negotiations” with the AMPTP and called for a strike last week. She spoke to Variety this week about what led to the strike, how she came to the position of union boss and what SAG-AFTRA is trying to do. She also talked about vaccines and it got a little bit nutty, but Fran fans know that about her too. Some highlights:

Whether she thinks she was initially too optimistic about AMPTP negotiations: “This is my first negotiation. In hindsight, I could see how we were being manipulated. But at the time, I came into it with a certain level of trust, that we would actually be able to make a contract. But whenever we start getting to the meat of these situations, we start to see that we’re getting stonewalled. We’re coming back with open response counter proposals, and so, actually, in earnest we still gave them an unprecedented 12-day extension to come back with something really meaningful. And during that time, they canceled our negotiation meetings. And, again, I thought, maybe they’re duking it out behind closed doors, maybe they’re gonna come back with something that we can really start to roll up our sleeves. They just wanted to get more time to promote their summer movies and they had no intention of using that extension for anything else.

Whether she has regrets about being duped: “I’m always going to try and give a person the truth. I hoped to avert a strike — that is the ideal. Going on strike is not the original point. That’s when you feel like you can’t make a deal. But if you feel like you can make a deal… Hindsight is always 20/20. But even during that period when they woke up, they said, “We’re still in our room,” talking about how to counter your proposal. So, it’s like, OK, well, maybe that’s good. We wanted to avert a strike, if at all possible.”

The journeyman actors were the ones pushing for a strike: “Remember, Tom Cruise and top people make their own deals. That’s not who we are striking for. We’re striking for the journeyman…they’re the ones that were pushing us to strike, OK? They’re the ones that are living this level of oppression. They feel like they can’t take any more of it, because they are being economically squeezed out of their livelihoods. If they’re willing to take this huge step of sacrifice, then we’re in it to win it. If this was a different point in history, where the business model didn’t change so dramatically, and suddenly with streaming and digital and AI. It’s a whole new game! If you think that we don’t have to unpack the old contract and change it exponentially I don’t know what to say.

Whether she worries about being blacklisted as an actress: “My speech at that press conference reverberated around the world. It spoke to workers everywhere; it is bigger than the sum of its parts. I’m not going to worry about my career. I’ve had a fantastic career. If anybody in this industry wishes to blacklist me or being on the side of right and good, then whatever. I follow Buddhist teaching or call myself a Jew Bu. I let life unfold. I don’t have a crystal ball. I’m not going to speculate. I don’t know where this will lead. All I know is in the now, which is what Buddhism teaches you, to remain present. This is my calling and I’m going to meet this moment.

Figuring out the longer vision: “The greed of these entities and the shiny baubles that they put before the shareholders, obliterates a longer vision, a far sightedness of where this should go or how to manage it correctly. And they just jump in. They sell the shareholders, and all of this is bullsh-t. Then when they really get into the trenches with the costs, what do they do? They look right away to the performer to squeeze them, because God forbid they should take away from the CEOs. Do they do character driven smaller stories. No! They got all these flying dragons and bullsh-t and it’s expensive and all the big stars and it’s very expensive and all of that is what they wanted to do. The idea that if you spend 80% on production, maybe spend 79% and we can get our fair share. And the money that’s paid for all this, including the CEO salaries, is in subscriptions! It’s not in episodes or seasons anymore.

On Covid protocols & vaccine mandates: “I felt like the COVID protocols, pre-vaccine, were successful. People went back to work. It was a manageable situation. Then, with the advent of the vaccine, it turns into something else. In California, private business can determine their own health policy. And they decided that rather than constantly be shut down, everybody had to be vaccinated if they wanted to work. Even though there was constant information coming out that you can still get it. And once you got it, are you as good as inoculated by the virus. There was a lot of ifs ands or buts. And the dangerous aspect of it all was that people were being fed different news. There wasn’t one narrative. And since 80% of all ad dollars on most broadcasts comes from big pharma.

Whether she got vaccinated: “I did because I kept losing work! I did it, in spite of the fact that I was a little scared to do it. Because I have my own health issues, cancer survivor, all of this stuff, but I decided to just let the universe help me through this because I don’t know what to do. All I know is that I want to work. But a lot of people it was just that they didn’t have a choice. And they didn’t have a career during that time, either as a result, and I always felt like I’m not a dictator. I can only keep bringing the conversation to the board. I’m trying to get them to see that we should push back on this. I was not successful at that.

[From Variety]

The vaccine stuff was totally cringe and she should have just left it at something like “I was trying to advocate for all actors, even the anti-vaxx dumbasses.” Unfortunately, it sounds like she was one of the anti-vaxx dumbasses who only got vaccinated because, oh right, those vaccine mandates actually did work. As for the rest of it – while I’m not a SAG member, I think it’s fine that she did the 12-day extension, even if it turned out to just be a scam. It showed that she was operating in good faith and she was willing to do what she could to avoid a strike and make a deal. When the scam was laid bare, that’s when she showed her backbone and walked away. Anyway… I hope she continues to burn the sh-t down.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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32 Responses to “Fran Drescher finally got the Covid vaccine ‘because I kept losing work!’”

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  1. Elle says:

    In her defense, it’s quite possible that as a cancer survivor, she was getting conflicting medical advice regarding the vaccine. The American Society of Clinical Oncology has this written on their website, as of this morning: “Patients with cancer may be offered vaccination against COVID-19 as long as components of that vaccine are not contraindicated.” So it is quite possible that when the vaccine was relatively new, she was advised against it, and then never got it until either she was cleared medically or just said F it, “I want to live and work, and I have been determined to not be contraindicated.”

    Another article from the NIH National Cancer Institute:

    “All other patients who are being treated for cancer, including those getting aggressive chemotherapy, should get vaccinated and boosted without delay.” Those that have received a stem cell transplant still need to wait 3 months, etc.

    But this is what we know now. It’s impossible to know what she was told two to three years ago.

    • Brassy Rebel says:

      But then she could have gotten a medical waiver, right? She sounded like she was doing this on her own.

    • ML says:

      The illest people I know/knew on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean were the first to be vaccinated and were offered the most booster shots. Myeloma, Non Hodgkins, breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, colon cancer, heart disease, asthma, myasthenia gravis, Crohn’s disease, Sjogren’s,… ALL of them. Different US states, a couple of EU countries (including in the NLs where I live). Everyone had the vaccine ASAP because of how vulnerable they were. There is no way, considering how many people were dying, that she would have been seen as too vulnerable considering she had cancer well before Covid. My FIL had a stem cell transplant and as soon as possible, he received a booster. What she says makes no sense.

      • Elle says:

        Thank you both for your comments! I was inpatient at the height of covid for four months so I had no control over what I was or wasn’t given (although I did request some dosages of some medications be changed that I thought were too high upon getting a second opinion). But I was in a wheelchair with a neurological condition and if I had said no to the second vaccine – I had gotten first one before I was admitted – I probably would have been discharged immediately, as I should have been. I was only allowed to see people outside for four months and they still had to show proof of vaccination for an outdoor visit. But my point is that I missed a lot of what the outside world was like during those months.

      • kirk says:

        I think what’s she’s saying makes total sense. She doesn’t sound antivax to me. She said she got the vaccine even though she was scared to do it and opted for working (getting vaccine) even though she “didn’t know what to do.” She’s mistrustful of pharma ad dollars. Vaccine is less effective in those with compromised immune system like hers.

    • Drea says:

      It’s hard to say. I could buy it not sure.

      At the “collective-good” level, being a union boss and anti-vax seem like thought processes that are pretty at odds with each other.

      So, maybe we have most of the story, maybe we don’t.

  2. Brassy Rebel says:

    I didn’t know that she was sort of, kinda, an anti-vaxxer. She seems smart enough to know that vaccines only work when you have herd immunity. As a cancer survivor, she should have been more scared of COVID than the shot. ¯⁠\⁠_⁠(⁠ツ⁠)⁠_⁠/⁠¯

    • Thinking says:

      If she got the vaccine, I think she’s not completely against it. Maybe she didn’t like it or was scared of it, but she chose to get it..whatever her reasons may be. I don’t mind vaccines but I think maybe we expect too much enthusiasm for people for some stances that we may not be personally opposed to.

      • No she said she got it so she could work. She had cancer awhile ago but that should have made her think about her vulnerabilities and did some better research. She clearly says it wasn’t her choice she had to have it to work.

      • Thinking says:

        Yes, she got it because she wanted work (hence, “ whatever her reasons may be). But at the end of the day she still got it. If she chose not to get it at all, I’d probably think she was being annoying. But if she got it, well, she got it at the end of the day. I don’t really need her to have the perfect position on it, if she chose to actually get vaccinated. She didn’t hold out like Novak Djokovic.

        I wanted the vaccine, but I suspect it’s possible that some of my coworkers were forced to get it. I’m not going to get up in arms about their personal thoughts about if they’re actually vaccinated.

  3. Cancer survivor here. I had cancer during Covid I took every Covid shot and booster. To this day I have had the first two injections with Pfizer and have had five boosters with Pfizer. I’m alive to say I have never had Covid and yes I know I could still get Covid but all my injections would keep me out of the hospital.This is just me and what i did. Fran should be careful with the information.

    • ML says:

      Susan, every friend, relative and acquaintance with cancer and other diseases did exactly the same as you (some had Moderna, some Pfizer), because ALL of them were more vulnerable than the general public and people were literally dying or had complications due to Covid. Thank you for posting this!

      • BothSidesNow says:

        @ ML, I am immune compromised and as soon as I could get a shot I did without hesitation!! I still wear a mask when I am out as I have no patience for the ignorance and the mentality of anti-vaxxers!! You simply can’t fix stupid.

        As for Drescher, it saddens me that she only decided to become vaccinated so that she could work not that she was her own self advocate for fulfilling her own research.

        (We will never reach herd immunity due to the relentless stupidity in the US but we must take action on our own.)

    • Brassy Rebel says:

      Her platform is huge right now. And her cause is just. It’s not helpful to the striking talent to have her spreading misinformation.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        Agreed @ Brassy Rebel!! It’s speaks as ignorance as opposed to a decision based on conversations with her physicians and oncologist.

        Let’s hope Drescher has the insight, with a wider understanding, as to those who have spent decades behind the scenes of their careers as opposed to those whose careers were built in front of it.

    • Meghan says:

      I actually like what she said, not because I think she’s right, but because she is being honest. She said she was scared, and didn’t know what to believe, and doesn’t trust big pharma. Super relatable across both sides of the wild and terrifying bipartisan divide you guys are going with these days. (I’m Canadian). I was scared of the vaccine too. And I’m also fully vaccinated. I’m far left in my personal politics and I still think the hard line rhetoric on both sides is super f*cking toxic.

      • Twin Falls says:

        @Meghan – I agree and she said she fully supported Covid protocols which is not what most nut job antivaxxers do.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      @ Susan Collins, how terribly awful for you!! I f’ing hate cancer and I hate how it destroys you both mentally, and most importantly physically. I can’t imagine how terribly scared and stressful you were. I do hope that you are cancer free and remain that way until you are old enough to become the age of not shying away from sharing your opinion!!

      (I say that with the greatest respect as we become witness as older people happily removed their filter, resulting in them having no time for other people’s BS and make it known!!)

      • @bothsidesnow. I wasn’t as stressed as some might be because I found the lump and was quickly in treatment. I’m grateful for where I live because the medical around here is top notch. I’m grateful for having great insurance. I still take a medication because of being estrogen positive. Will take that for 3-5 years. Was her2 positive that was taken care of already. I did see people when I was getting chemo who were much more impacted than I was and so I got through it just great. Don’t want to do it again but it could have been worse. So I’m a survivor and was happily to be allowed all the extra boosters that I received. I’m of the age already where I say what I want and sometimes I’m brutally honest lol.

  4. Caroline says:

    I think it’s actually good to normalize being scared or unsure of getting the vaccine and then getting it anyway. Like it or not, a lot of folks felt that way!

    • teehee says:

      Its just honesty, yknow. This vaccine was NOT researched – it was made, and immediately given to people, and we dont know the 2, 5, 10 year impact it may have.
      There is evidence of it interfering with blood sugar and blood pressure.

      There is nothing “anti vax” about being cautious and open to viewing that this was in fact exaggerated and rushed at the time and not everybody could be forced to take it. Its not the same as the vaccines that have been around for 30 years already, and for which we KNOW its better to take it. Covid? We truly cant say that yet!

      (I have been triple vaccinated)

      • BothSidesNow says:

        @ teehee, I must disagree with you. The Obama administration implemented measures to insure that the CDC had the proper funds, staff and resources to fully research the complexities of the mRNA. With the decade of research of the mRNA, the CDC had an already created a map, excuse my analogy, which resulted in the CDC’s ability to develop the coronavirus vaccine so quickly.

        As a side note, Cheeto-lini slashed a majority of the CDC’s funding as soon as he was elected. All of which hampered the CDC’s staff and equipment.

      • Lily says:

        Yeah, ”exaggerated” and ”rushed” is pretty anti-vax, given that it has been said by every anti-vaxxer ever. Especially the latter. And the whole point of developing mRNA vaccines – which have been in the pipeline for quite a while and didn’t suddenly appear with COVID – is because the vaccines we ”KNOW” work have a ton of side-effects and frequently don’t work all that great, either. The Johnson vaccine was created with that old technology – and had the most and worst side-effects.

      • @teehee. I found out when I had cancer treatment from my oncologist that the mRNA is what cancer research was using to target certain cancers. So they decided to use it to target Covid. The research was 10 years already in process so this was not something brand new. I personally think it was great that they could target Covid. It also moved the research up many years for targeting cancers. I read they believe it will be ready by 2026-28 to use for targeting cancers. Unfortunately trump was in control and was not letting that info out. I think more people would have vaccinated if they knew.

      • Bee says:

        It was extensively clinically tested. I know someone who traveled all around the country managing the trials. It was done in parallel in order to get it out quickly. But it was not untested. That’s a false, antivax talking point. I really don’t know what you mean by “exaggerated” at all. People were dying, Kimberly.

  5. Anon says:

    She is anti vax. I heard rumors she wanted to strike over the vaccine/ Covid protocols a year or two ago but got no support.

    • poppedbubble says:

      Maybe. Or maybe it’s more nuanced. She said, “I continue to fight on behalf of our members who feel discriminated against because of the Covid unvaccinated or un-boosted status, which is keeping them from working in major studio productions. For those members not being fairly considered by studios with regards to their religious or health exemptions, help is on the way!”

  6. Anon says:

    I also agree that she is expressing that she was scared but ultimately chose to get it anyway, which is a legitimate fear many people had. While a lot of the antivaxx movement was led and bred and appropriated by racist right wingers, my racialized or otherwise marginalized friends in Canada were very wary and felt horrifying pressure to get it so they could return to work. In particular, my best friend’s mom, who is Indigenous and survived cancer, residential schools, and saw her friends forcibly sterilized by our gov, was adamant she wasn’t getting it. And given her history with the gov, WHY would she trust their guidance on this??? In the end she did, with lots of emotional and patient support from her two kids. We have to allow the conversation about vaccines to include how fucking corrupt the gov has been in the past and how little trust they have when things like this happen.

  7. MSTJ says:

    She didn’t come across as anti-vaxx in my view of what’s said here.

    This is what I got out of what she said in the piece above: She had concerns, evaluated the information on the vaccine for her individual situation and the fact that it was needed as a requirement for her to work then she got it. She also in her capacity as a democratic President of the union and not a Dictator addressed the concerns her members had about it being a requirement for work. The employers came back to her with their rules on what needs to be followed and she got back to her membership on what the rules they had to adhere to were.

    She’s not out there telling anyone not to get vaccinated because the vaccine would kill them like the anti-vaxxers do.

  8. Supersoft says:

    She is a two-time cancer survivor and probably had genetic testing done. There are some polymorphisms that don’t go well with vaccinations. So she probably had a reason to be insecure. And I appreciate her for being honest and outspoken.
    Everything she says in that interview is completely understandable.

  9. MicMack says:

    Some folks medically were advised to not get it. There is also the complex cornucopia of the US government cavalier style bad medical science to the following groups that is historic fact: Black Americans, U.S. military veterans, us military personnel, First Nations people.

  10. SammiB says:

    Who cares if she didn’t make the ‘approved’ decision to vaccinate? She got vaccinated. Awesome. And she’s not out there victimising herself or spouting nonsense.

    I understand the fear of not reaching herd immunity because anti vaxxers are loud and very online, but aside from the US they represent only a small % of most other countries populations. Here in Australia over 90% of the population is vaxxed and life is completely back to normal.