Actor and professional wrestler Mr. T, best known as one of the stars of the 1980s action-adventure series The A-Team, took to Twitter to encourage his followers to continue to wear masks to curb transmission of the coronavirus as the COVID-19 pandemic enters its next phase.
In his tweet, which comes as the United States continues to see an uptick in infections attributed to the Omicron subvariant BA.2, Mr. T, whose real name is Laurence Tureaud, noted he recently received a second booster of the Moderna vaccine.
Mr. T, who is a lymphoma survivor, added he will continue to practice social distancing "because the virus ain’t over, Fool!"
Mr. T's tweet was largely well received by fans who thanked him for stressing the country is still dealing with a global public health emergency, but nonetheless raised the ire of Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who referred to the actor's announcement as "bizarre."
In a tweet of his own, Cruz took aim at Hollywood stars, whom he suggested are overly cautious compared to members of Congress who attended President Joe Biden's State of the Union address "without wearing masks."
Cruz was immediately criticized.
Many suggested he was being hypocritical for claiming to stand for "personal freedoms" while attacking Mr. T for exercising his own.
Cruz has previously generated headlines for trying to stoke conflict with public figures over COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates.
In February, Kennedy Stewart, the mayor of Vancouver, British Columbia, hit back at Cruz after Cruz predicted there would be "empty shelves" across the city in response to Stewart's rebuke of the "Freedom Convoy," a U.S. conservative funded movement by Canadian truckers to push back against COVID-19 public health protocols.
After Stewart stressed Vancouver residents did not want the truckers in their city and urged them to "Make your point and go home," Cruz claimed Vancouver residents "might feel differently" about the convoy in the event there are suddenly "empty shelves" in stores.
Stewart responded shortly afterward, reminding Cruz the protesters comprise a minority of truckers because in Canada, 90 percent of truckers are, in fact, vaccinated.