In a five-minute Instagram video, Ant-Man actress Evangeline Lilly pleaded with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to meet with members of the so-called Freedom Convoy, a group protesting against vaccine mandates. Speaking in calm, measured tones, Lilly described the protesters as peaceful, contrasting with reports of far-right extremism and violence connected to the convoy.
“If you’re so convinced of your own reasons for the mandates, sit down and walk the leaders of a group of 2.3 million protesters across the country, and explain it to them,” said Lilly, directing her statement toward prime minister Trudeau. “Listen to what they have to say with a mind open to hearing things that might go against the ideas you are entrenched in.”
According to Reuters, this 2.3 million figure is inaccurate. Estimates suggest that the ongoing protests involve tens of thousands at most.
Rather than sharing her statement via her own Instagram page (which has 2.2 million followers), Lilly released the video through Bridge City News (39k followers), a news show on a local Christian TV channel. But after people posted quotes and excerpts elsewhere on social media, Lilly began to attract criticism for supporting the convoy—a viewpoint that aligns the Marvel star with anti-vaxxers and far-right groups.
This protest began in late January, with vehicles traveling from across Canada to gather near the nation’s parliament in Ottowa. Nicknamed the “trucker convoy,” it includes several hundred trucks, tractors, and other vehicles, but there’s some debate over whether many of the protesters are actually “truckers”—a term that suggests a grassroots, working-class movement. About 90% of Canadian truckers are vaccinated, whereas the Freedom Convoy involves a disparate group of anti-vaccine-mandate campaigners using vehicles as a protest tactic.
In the video, Lilly asks the public to ignore mainstream media reporting of the convoy, arguing that the protesters are being misrepresented as “a fringe minority” and “racist and misogynistic.” But while individuals across the political spectrum may oppose vaccine mandates, the Freedom Convoy has proven far-right links in both Canada and the US.
Evangeline Lilly previously faced criticism for posting a photo of herself at a Washington, D.C. “bodily sovereignty” protest on Jan. 27, holding a sign reading “Vaxxed Democrat for medical freedom.” Characterizing herself as “pro-choice,” she drew comparisons between vaccine mandates and anti-abortion laws. She positions herself as the progressive, caring face of a movement that’s perceived as primarily right-wing.
Lilly says that she is vaccinated, which makes sense given that Disney movies require their cast and crew to be vaccinated against COVID-19. She recently finished filming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania with Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas, due out in July 2023.
However, some fans are already speculating about whether Lilly’s character Hope van Dyne (aka the Wasp) will be recast in future movies. After introducing the multiverse, the MCU can easily replace characters with alternate versions played by different actors, making it much easier to recast prominent stars.