Fran Drescher, Why Have You Forsaken Us?

The Jewish icon and SAG-AFTRA president recently shared anti-vax sentiments on social media. Sigh.

The saying goes that you should never meet your heroes. But just to be safe, you probably shouldn’t follow them on social media, either.

For myself, as well as for (I’m assuming) a fair majority of the Jewish community, this was recently proved true by our beloved Fran Drescher.

On November 5, Drescher, who is the president of SAG-AFTRA, tweeted (and posted to Instagram) a video captioned “@disney pulls the plug on vaccine mandates! Way to go Mickey!!!!” In the video, she praises Disney’s decision to no longer require those working on the production sets of 12 different TV programs to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“To think that every human on the planet can take one vaccine is ludicrous,” Drescher said in the video, while also clarifying that she herself is vaccinated against COVID. She goes on, “And to make that one vaccine the criteria for who is allowed to work, travel, dine, go to theater, et cetera, is an infringement on the Disabilities Act, the freedom of religion act and body sovereignty.”

Drescher then concluded her statement by comparing vaccine mandates to fascism and discrimination.

“We as a nation must be very careful that fear does not turn into fascism.” Drescher said, adding, “When equal citizens stop being equal, when cards must be presented to identify whether you are included or excluded, we stand at a tipping point of an America I no longer recognize.”

And, finally, “The problem with discrimination is that there will always be good people that justify it because of an extreme condition. But it is those times especially when we must fight even harder to protect the sanctity of freedom for all and never succumb to an us-versus-them mentality.”

As a professional in the Jewish media space, this is my official statement on the matter: Fran, NOOOooOOOOoooOOoOOoOoO!

In all seriousness, this is crushingly sad and disappointing. Fran’s too-muchness, iconic fashion style and, above all else, her unapologetic Jewish pride on both “The Nanny” and in her public persona are everything to me. She has been everything to me ever since I first watched an episode of “The Nanny” on Nick at Nite in the early 2010s.

Of course, Fran — and the projects she’s been a part of — are not perfect. As just one example, “The Nanny” was rife with fat-shaming. But though fatphobia causes real harm, Fran’s platforming of anti-vax sentiments to her massive social media following is a different level of dangerous. According to the World Health Organization, there have been 629,370,889 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally since the start of the pandemic, and 6,578,245 people have died as a result. (Those stats don’t even cover how many people are suffering from long-term health effects from coronavirus.) Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is anyone’s best defense against infection. To not only suggest that it’s OK to not get vaccinated (in my humble opinion, it’s not) but also say that it’s fascist and discriminatory to prevent the spread of a serious illness? That’s going to convince people who admire Fran not to get vaccinated. Will all of them die? No. But will their decision go beyond themselves, perhaps affecting the elderly and immunocompromised? Absolutely. Whatever happened to pikuach nefesh, Fran?!?

Also, it’s worth noting that, as a Jew, I’m deeply confused by Fran’s decision to lend her support to anti-vaxxers, when they have offensively compared vaccine passports to the Holocaust and protested COVID restrictions by wearing Jewish stars.

I don’t really know what to do with this information. I love “The Nanny,” and I’m sure I’ll continue to watch it now and again. But I suppose the time has come to finally remove Fran Drescher from the pedestal I’ve put her on. She’s done a lot of good for Jewish representation, but it seems that nothing is sacred, not even Fran.

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

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