Back in the halcyon days of the early 2010s, Rob Schneider was perhaps best known for being a Saturday Night Live alum, one of Adam Sandler’s BFFs, and the star of the (underrated) The Hot Chick and the (completely fairly rated) Deuce Bigalow franchise. Today, however, he’s probably best known for being red-pilled as fuck.
Every once in a while, Schneider emerges in the public consciousness to remind us of his existence, either by saying something insane about vaccines or Joe Biden or gender-affirming care or appearing as a parenthetical in profiles of his daughter, musician Elle King. Earlier this week, he once again appeared in the news cycle by posting a photo on Twitter with presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is well-known for sharing Schneider’s anti-vaccine views. “Inspiring, hopeful, courageous and most importantly (like his father) compassionate,” Schneider wrote in the caption.
So how did a member of the (in MAGA-head voice) “Hollywood media elite” become so red-pilled, seemingly overnight? We may never know for certain, as a representative for Schneider did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment. But as is the case with most political trajectories, it appears that Schneider’s shift to the right was far less abrupt than it appears at first blush.
Below is a thorough timeline of the radicalization of the Makin’ Copies guy.
Schneider speaks at a protest against AB2019, a California bill requiring a medical provider’s approval for child vaccine exemptions. “At a certain point, you have to draw a line in the sand, and people have to put their hands up and be counted for,” he says in front of the crowd regarding the bill. In an interview with News10 Sacramento, which appears to have since been taken down for violating YouTube community guidelines, Schneider regurgitates many conspiracy theorist talking points about mandatory childhood vaccines. “The efficacy of these shots have not been proven,” he said. “And the toxicity of these things — we’re having more and more side effects. We’re having more and more autism.” (Any supposed links between autism and vaccines are based on faulty and discredited data and have been debunked time and time again.)
Schneider endorses then-Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly, a former member of the anti-immigrant Minutemen border patrol group who would later go on to accuse Obama of “secretly” practicing Islam. In the video, he self-identifies as a “lifelong Democrat,” endorsing Donnelly due to overregulation pushed by California Democrats. “The Democrats and my party have abandoned me,” he says in the video. “So I abandoned them.” The Washington Times later reports that Schneider also takes issue with his home state overregulating his vitamin business.
Schneider enters the “find out” phase of his red-pilling, with the insurance company State Farm pulling an ad featuring the actor following pressure from childhood vaccination groups. “This particular ad has unintentionally been used as a platform for discussion, unrelated to the products and services we provide,” the company told the Hollywood Reporter at the time. “With that, we are working to remove the ad from our rotation at this time.” Following the debacle, Schneider doubled down, tweeting a quote from George Washington and writing, “Thanks to all my supporters who believe as I do that parents should decide what’s in the best interests of their child, not Gov’t mandates.”
Amid a highly covered measles outbreak in California, Schneider calls then-Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a proponent of a bill barring personal belief vaccine exemptions for children attending school in California, and says he plans to spend “a lot of money” against her campaign. Gonzalez later tells a local news reporter she finds the call “disturbing.”
In the past, Schneider had been critical of his former Home Alone 2: Lost in New York co-star Donald Trump, writing in a 2015 Facebook post in response to Trump’s plan to build a wall to halt immigration from Mexico, “Dear Donald Trump, one thing I’ve learned from marrying a Mexican woman and having a Mexican suegra [mother-in-law] is DON’T PISS OFF MEXICANS!” He also maintained in a 2019 interview that he was “not a fan” and that he could think of “10,000 people I would prefer to be president than Donald Trump.” In 2023, however, Schneider reveals in his Fox Nation stand-up special that he voted for Trump in the 2016 election, jokingly stating he had sent “three or four … five at the most” ballots for the candidate.
In an interview with Larry King, Schneider clarifies his political affiliation, saying he is an “independent” but is “definitely more conservative now” due to his opposition to “any form of taking away people’s rights.” “There is a push and a constriction of freedom that is coming from the left now,” he says. Schneider does not explicitly reference this in the interview, but this stance is possibly prompted by the virulently negative social media response to remarks he made that January, criticizing Rep. John Lewis’ boycott of Trump’s inauguration, resulting in actor Wil Wheaton tweeting, “Rob Schneider lecturing @repjohnlewis is the most embarrassing thing he’s ever done. Yes, this includes The Animal.“
Schneider resurrects his beef with Assemblywoman Gonzalez over SB 276, a bill that further limits vaccine exemptions without approval from a medical provider. “Respectfully,
Either accept my offer to debate you on the merits of sb276 or refuse and kill this awful piece of Government OverReach and admit that the PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN and want to KEEP MEDICAL DECISIONS MADE BY PARENTS NOT FACELESS BUREAUCRATS,” Schneider tweets to Gonzalez in July. The bill is signed into law a few months later, but not before fellow celebrities Jessica Biel and the aforementioned RFK Jr. join Schneider in publicly lobbying against it.
Schneider also defends comics Louis C.K. and Kevin Hart after both come under fire for, respectively, joking about the Parkland shooting survivors and making homophobic comments in old tweets, which cost Hart an Oscars host gig. “Free Louis C.K.! Jokes are words you f*cking moron c*nts,” Schneider tweets in defense of the former before claiming he would boycott the Oscars this year if Hart is not reinstated as host. (He is not.)
In an interview with the website Fatherly, Schneider says he still identifies as a “classic liberal” who was for “equal rights, equal pay, civil rights, gay rights,” but maintains he takes issue with “cancel culture” and Hollywood’s left-wing bias. “If you make fun of liberals, you’re going to get attacked,” he says. “If you make fun of conservatives, you get branded as a stereotypical Hollywood person. I try to make fun of both.”
Like many Americans, Schneider appears to have been further radicalized by the Covid-19 pandemic and the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine. In February, he posts a critique of California public school safety measures on Twitter, likening a teacher separating children’s desks with Plexiglas to “a new kind of child abuse.” In July, he posts on Twitter discouraging his followers from getting the vaccine, urging them to “just say no.” “Over Half of the US population is continuing to say no to this unapproved experimental gene therapy! ‘My body, my choice!’” He concludes his tweet by bizarrely invoking the second amendment.
In September, Schneider appears on Glenn Beck’s podcast and casts himself as something of a martyr to the right-wing cause: “I don’t care about my career anymore,” he says on the podcast. “I care about my children, the country that they’re gonna live in.” He then launches into an anecdote about World War II fighter pilots sacrificing their lives to prevent “stepping back into the darkest parts of humanity.” His remarks are met with bemusement on social media, with one pundit commenting, “Rob Schneider saying he doesn’t care if he loses his career is like me saying I don’t care if I get fat — it happened long ago.”
In an appearance on Fox and Friends later that year, Schneider echoes this sentiment, hinting that his friends in Hollywood share his views, “but they are really scared of it [talking about it] because there is like a mob ideologues that will attack you.” Many on social media assume he is referring to Adam Sandler, who has cast Schneider in many of his films (and donated to Rudy Giuliani’s campaign in 2007), but Sandler has never publicly spoken about his political views.
Schneider completes his arc as a right-wing influencer, airing a poorly reviewed stand-up special, Rob Schneider: Woke Up in America, on Fox Nation in June. The special features jokes about Biden, his pronouns (“hee” and “haw”), and the right-wing discourse regarding transgender rights. “Everybody knows what a woman is. A woman is someone who gets mad at you for something you did three fucking years ago,” he says in the special. “Biological fact.” Charming.