Bill Murray Ruffles Feathers With His Thoughts About the Pandemic

Bill Murray put some fans on edge this weekend with his latest comments about the COVID-19 pandemic. The actor spoke about the global catastrophe in an interview with The Independent published on Saturday. His remarks on how people have reacted to the pandemic made some readers feel like he was taking an anti-mask or even anti-vaccination position, although on further inspection that doesn't seem to be the case.

Murray spoke to The Independent about his new concert film titled New Worlds: The Cradle of Civilization, which was filmed in 2018 but delayed numerous times due to the pandemic. He and one of the other stars, cellist Jan Vogler, talked about how this movie was more interesting than ever since it functions as a glimpse into the pre-pandemic mindset. Murray pointed out how much the world has changed since then, apparently commenting on his immediate surroundings as he said: "We just went out with our friend to walk the dog, and you're wearing a mask, everyone's wearing a mask. The dog is the only one who's completely alive!"

"He's living the dog's life," Murray continued. "The rest of us are afraid to die, and afraid to kill, so we're masked up and we're injected, and so forth. It's the most challenging time of this life cycle for us."

Some readers interpreted this quote to mean that Murray did not think people should be wearing masks anymore, especially based on the breakout quotes used in headlines and in promotional tweets. One person tweeted: "The dog is the only one that's 'truly alive' cos it's not wearing a mask? Really, Bill? Do you think shoes also mean we're dead, Bill?"

Murray also shared his belief that the pandemic is the defining hardship for the current generations in the same way that world wars and economic depressions were defining trials for previous generations. He said: "We didn't have a world war or a depression, the things our ancestors had. This is the hand we got dealt and if you fold, you can't win."

These quotes made interesting headlines and tweets, but on their own, they're not anti-scientific as many critics interpreted them to be. Murray may not have made any outright PSAs about public health measures in the last two years, but there is plenty more evidence to suggest that he is in favor of science-based protocols than there is evidence that he is against them.

Murray has been photographed wearing a mask numerous times over the last two years and has attended events where proof of vaccination was required for entry without any public complaint. He even appeared in a segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live in May of 2020 where he wore a mask while video-chatting from his bathtub. He said: "I think anyone that is not wearing a mask, you could argue, you're being socially irresponsible, you're risking your life and the lives of others."

Knowing Murray, he won't be in a rush to clarify his politics just for the sake of saving face. Fans who are still interested in seeing his musical concert film New Worlds: The Cradle of Civilization can track down one of the limited theatrical screenings in the U.S. right now. There's no word yet on when the movie will be released for home viewing or what service it might end up on.