Though regular COVID-19 tests are now a standard part of the production industry, Ortega was tested specifically because she had symptoms. She recalled drinking cough syrup in between takes while waiting for test results.
“It’s crazy because it was my first day with COVID so it was awful to film,” Ortega said in an interview. “I woke up and — it’s weird, I never get sick and when I do it’s not very bad — I had the body aches. I felt like I’d been hit by a car and that a little goblin had been let loose in my throat and was scratching the walls of my esophagus.”
“Strict COVID protocols were followed, and once the positive test was confirmed, production removed Jenna from the set,” Netflix said in a statement.
Still, many have criticized director Tim Burton and production company MGM for allowing Ortega to work unmasked while exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. @lilysimpson1312 wrote on Twitter:
this is a bad thing right? we all agree that this is not some “persevering through hardship” moment, its a why the f*ck didn’t she get sent home, she could get horrendously sick or infect others kinda moment
this is a bad thing right? we all agree that this is not some "persevering through hardship" moment, its a why the fuck didn't she get sent home, she could get horrendously sick or infect others kinda moment pic.twitter.com/dBlwOf2ulr
— Lily Simpson is Emotionally Dead like Twltter (@LilySimpson1312) December 3, 2022
Some pointed out not only the cruelty of making Ortega push through such symptoms, but the danger imposed on fellow cast and crew. From @hereisviolet:
Jenna Ortega having COVID on set and working unmasked around other unmasked performers is not a flex. She should not be praised for “working while sick.” The above the line crew could’ve possibly disabled or killed someone for their irresponsibility.
Jenna Ortega having COVID on set and working unmasked around other unmasked performers is not a flex. She should not be praised for “working while sick.”
The above the line crew could’ve possibly disabled or killed someone for their irresponsibility.
— v ✨🦋 (@hereisviolet) December 6, 2022
Ortega and Netflix have not commented further on the allegations of unsafe COVID-19 protocols on the set of Wednesday. The young actress stars alongside Christina Ricci (Marilyn Thornhill), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Morticia Addams), Luis Guzmán (Gomez Addams), and Emma Myers (Enid Sinclair).
“Smart, sarcastic and a little dead inside, Wednesday Addams investigates a murder spree while making new friends — and foes — at Nevermore Academy,” reads the official Netflix description of the series.
“She’s a truth-teller. She’ll say the things everybody else wants to say, and she can get away with it,” said Alfred Gough, who created the new show alongside Miles Millar.
Have you watched Wednesday on Netflix?