She was once a promising young actress, whose early stint on Home and Away led her on the path to Hollywood success.
But fast-forward to 2020, and Isabel Lucas’ anti-vaxxer views and bizarre conspiracy theories have sadly overshadowed her on-screen talent.
At the age of 35, Isabel already has a string of shocking headlines to her name – and most recently caused outrage by ‘opting out’ of a mandatory coronavirus test while filming a new movie in Byron Bay, on the northern NSW coast.
But it’s certainly not her first eyebrow-raising incident, as Daily Mail Australia looks back at her long history of controversy.
Controversial: At the age of 35, actress-turned-conspiracy theorist Isabel Lucas already has a string of shocking headlines to her name – and most recently caused outrage by ‘opting out’ of a mandatory coronavirus test while filming a new movie in Byron Bay
2009: Arrest warrant issued for animal activism
In 2007, Isabel and fellow actress Hayden Panettiere made headlines when they joined activists on surfboards to try and stop a pod of dolphins being slaughtered in Japan.
The group were charged with ‘interfering with international commerce’ after they paddled across nets to stop dolphins and whales from being killed near the village of Taiji.
At the time, Isabel said: ‘I’m not scared in the least about going back there [to Japan]. In fact, now I think it would draw even more attention to the barbaric act.’
Isabel said later that year that she wasn’t deterred by the warrant, and was interested in returning to Japan the following year.
‘They can’t do anything while we’re in Australia,’ she told the Seven Network’s Today Tonight program at the time.
‘If we do go back to Japan there’s the risk we would be arrested at the airport.’
Supporters: In 2007, Isabel and fellow actress Hayden Panettiere (left) made headlines when they joined activists on surfboards to try and stop a pod of dolphins being slaughtered in Japan
April 2020: Isabel says she ‘doesn’t trust the path of vaccinations’
In April, Isabel hit the headlines when she shared dangerous anti-vaccination views on Instagram, while commenting on a post by fellow conspiracy theorist Pete Evans.
Throwing her support behind the disgraced former MKR judge, she wrote: ‘Freedom of choice is every human’s right. I don’t trust the path of vaccination.’
Surfer Taj Burrow added: ‘Vaccines not needed, just a good immune system.’
Anti-vaxxers spread idiotic conspiracy theories with no basis in scientific fact. They claim that ‘boosting’ the immune system through diet, supplements and sunlight can make people immune to certain diseases, which is completely false.
Before vaccination campaigns in the 1960s and ’70s, diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough killed thousands of children, whereas today in Australia, dying from one of these is extremely rare.
Isabel later clarified her remarks on Instagram, saying she has ‘concerns around “mandatory” vaccination, not vaccination itself’.
Dangerous: In April, Isabel (left) hit the headlines when she shared dangerous anti-vaccination views on Instagram, while commenting on a post by conspiracy theorist Pete Evans (right)
Oddball: In response to celebrity chef Pete’s criticism of a potential COVID-19 vaccine, Isabel wrote: ‘Freedom of choice is every humans right. I don’t trust the path of vaccination’
Promising actress: Isabel began her acting career on Home and Away, starring alongside the now globally recognised Chris Hemsworth (left)
April 2020: Isabel is dropped as an ambassador for a girls’ charity
Plan International Australia, a charity for girls’ rights, had announced on March 27 that Isabel was joining its stable of ambassadors.
However, following her controversial comments, she was swiftly dropped by the organisation in mid-April after less than a month.
A Twitter user wrote: ‘Are you aware your ambassador, actress Isabel Lucas, is one of these conspiracy theorists stoking fears during this crisis? She’s also anti-vaccination… go figure.’
Plan replied: ‘We are aware of the issues and as of today, Ms Lucas and Plan International have come to a mutual agreement to end the ambassadorship.’
Ambassador: Plan International Australia, a charity for girls’ rights, had announced on March 27 that Isabel was joining its stable of ambassadors
Dropped: However, following her controversial comments, she was swiftly dropped by the charity in mid-April after less than a month. Plan confirmed the decision on Twitter (pictured)
April 2020: Baseless 5G conspiracies
Shortly after being dropped from her ambassador role, she came under fire for promoting a baseless conspiracy theory about the 5G network.
In a statement on Instagram, Isabel – who played Tasha Andrews on Home and Away – wrote: ‘Freedom of speech is a human right.
‘Just two weeks ago the second top trending question on Google was “Is 5G safe?”
‘And now Google have announced they are censoring discussions on 5G health effects. Apparently violent pornography has not been censored for our “protection” though. Would it not be wise to ask why?’
Isabel, who has an entire subcategory on her Instagram account dedicated to the theories, continued: ‘If you don’t personally believe 5G is harmful, that’s okay but may I gently ask, what could be lost if we all paused for a moments re-evaluation?
‘If there is a possibility that a reevaluation could benefit our global health and humanity, is it not worth it?’
She clarified that she would ‘never suggest COVID-19 is 5G related’, but wanted to ‘support cohesive, clear, calm communication that welcomes healthy questioning’.
Isabel is also set to be a guest speaker at a 5G activist rally in Byron Bay on Tuesday, 20 October.
Not again: Shortly after being dropped from her ambassador role, Isabel came under fire for promoting a baseless conspiracy theory about the 5G network
Doubter: Isabel, who has an entire subcategory on her Instagram account dedicated to conspiracy theories, said: ‘If you don’t personally believe 5G is harmful, that’s okay but may I gently ask, what could be lost if we all paused for a moments re-evaluation?
May 2020: Isabel and Pete Evans praise dumped NRL star as he refuses mandatory flu shot
In another controversial twist, Isabel and Pete Evans publicly praised dumped NRL star Bryce Cartwright for refusing the league’s mandatory flu shot.
Cartwright, 25, was stood down along with teammate Brian Kelly in May after both refused to be vaccinated ahead of the May 28 restart date.
Not vaccinating is not only risky for children, but to the entire community, with vaccinations vital to reducing the spread of preventable diseases.
Isabel thanked Cartwright for showing ‘courage’ by refusing the flu shot.
‘THANK YOU,’ she commented below his Instagram post defending his stance on the compulsory vaccinations.
‘We are so grateful to you speaking up for this basic human right – freedom of choice. We are backing you. Keep standing for #prochoice. You are so courageous.’
The dangers of not being vaccinated
Immunisation is an effective way of protecting people from harmful, contagious diseases.
Before vaccination campaigns in the 1960s and 70s, diseases like tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough killed thousands of children.
Immunisation also protects the whole community, preventing the spread of the disease – known as ‘herd immunity’.
Vaccination can cause a disease to die out altogether – as was the case when smallpox was eradicated in 1980 after a vaccination campaign led by the World Health Organisation.
Vaccination rates are at over 93 per cent for five-year-olds in Australia.
Source: Australian Department of Health
August 2020: The ‘secret’ COVID-19 conspiracy Zoom chat
In August, Isabel was caught going to great lengths to stay anonymous during a Zoom call with COVID-19 conspiracy theorists and lockdown critics – including Pete Evans.
Covering her face with a black hoodie and mask and using the alias ‘X’, the anti-vaxxer told her co-panellists that she needed ‘to be careful about being outspoken’ because she was a famous Australian film and television actress.
‘I’m here, and I don’t want to be anonymous, but I am about to start filming a film, and I do need to be careful about being outspoken because you can get dropped from charities, you can lose campaigns with car companies,’ she said.
‘It has happened to me in recent times for speaking out. I feel careful, and I don’t want to elicit any aggressive, threatening responses.’
Zoom saga: In August, Isabel was caught going to great lengths to stay anonymous during a Zoom call with COVID-19 conspiracy theorists – including Pete Evans (pictured)
C For COVID: Isabel (top right) went undercover while appearing on a live chat with coronavirus conspiracy theorists and lockdown critics including former celebrity chef Pete Evans (bottom centre) and anti-5G activist Zev Freeman (top left)
Isabel said she felt ‘100 per cent called to shine a light on the reality of what’s really going on’ in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown directives.
‘There’s a certain level of agenda and darkness that has had authority… and that has had a lot of people believing lies,’ she said in the Zoom chat with other well-known figures in the anti-lockdown and anti-mask community.
She also claimed that she’d met several doctors while living in California who dropped out of the medical field due to ‘corruption’.
‘All of what they were speaking about is what we’re facing right now. When we are in a fear state, we just follow what we’re told,’ she said.
Isabel said that at the beginning of the pandemic in March she was asked by her local council to film a video calling on locals to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus.
After signing on for the campaign, Isabel revealed that she regretted appearing in the clip during the Zoom chat.
‘I saw that there was all these other great people doing it and it’s that sort of thing where you can get looped in without realising you’re being looped in,’ she said.
‘But those with a strong conscience and strong integrity won’t as easily sell out.’
Movie star: Isabel (right) is pictured on set filming a scene with co-star Rasmus King (left)
September 2020: Coronavirus test refusal
On the alternative health podcast Alfa Vedic, Isabel revealed she had ‘opted out’ of receiving a COVID-19 test while filming the movie Bosch & Rockit in Byron Bay last month.
‘I gave my duty of care of what I could offer to respect everyone’s health and maintain my own health, and I shared that, and I opted out of doing the COVID test,’ she said.
‘Everyone was really respectful and really honouring of, like, how to maintain health while this very tricky time is under way. But I needed to do that. I felt like it was quite an understanding, relaxed group of people.’
Isabel insisted that she has a strong immune system due to her healthy lifestyle and that most of the people on set were wearing masks.
‘My immune system has just become so solid from my way of life, how I live and eat and think,’ she explained.
Decision: On the alternative health podcast Alfa Vedic, Isabel revealed she had ‘opted out’ of receiving a COVID-19 test while filming the movie Bosch & Rockit in Byron Bay last month. Pictured in 2014
‘So it was a really beautiful experience all up, even though people were wearing masks most of the time and adhering to those rules.’
Producers of the film have since stated that COVID-19 testing was a mandatory requirement of filming.
In a statement, producers Tyler Atkins and Cathy Flannery told the Brisbane Times they were not aware that Isabel hadn’t been tested until the publication contacted them for comment.
‘Every cast and crew member was required to sign an acknowledgement that they would adhere to the COVID-Safe guidelines adopted by the production, which included an acknowledgement that they had been COVID-tested prior to principal photography,’ said a statement from the film’s production company, Black Pearl Productions.
‘Isabel’s recent statement that she was not tested is inconsistent with the producers’ understanding that she had complied with the COVID-Safe guidelines adopted by the production.’
Controversy: Isabel insisted that she has a strong immune system due to her healthy lifestyle and that most of the people on set were wearing masks. Pictured on MacGyver in 2017