Alfonso Ribeiro isn’t holding back his feelings when it comes to former co-star Ricky Schroder’s outspoken comments on COVID-19.
“It’s hard not to go down the rabbit hole if you’re around certain people,” the 50-year-old tells PEOPLE while discussing his partnership with The Original Donut Shop’s SNICKERS coffee flavor. “You are a product of your society and he does represent half the country.”
The duo starred together for five seasons in the 1980s sitcom Silver Spoons and stayed good friends over the years. “Going to see my old friend Alfonso Ribeiro on Dancing with the Stars tonight,Schroder, now 52, posted on Facebook in 2014 when Ribeiro was a contestant on the show.
But their friendship dynamic seems to have shifted after Schroder grew vocal about his feelings on COVID-19 precautions, like referring to Foo Fighter’s frontman Dave Grohl as “an ignorant punk” and picketing alongside other anti-vaxxers at events that required a shot against the virus in order to gain entry.
And it didn’t stop there. In a video from May 2021, the actor was seen arguing with a Costco employee over the store’s mask mandate, which was in effect for the entire state of California.
“Didn’t you see the news?” Schroder asked when told he couldn’t enter the store without his face covering. “Nationwide Costco has said you don’t need to wear masks.”
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The employee went on to tell the former childhood star, who sported a Blue Lives Matter baseball cap, that that was not the case, but Schroder would not comply and continued to argue. “Well if they allow us, if they grant us that, our kings, the people in power, you’re gonna listen to these people? They’ve destroyed our economy. They’ve destroyed our culture. They’ve destroyed our state . And you’re just gonna listen to their rules.”
After asking his social media followers to boycott Costco and demand refunds on membership, Twitter users pointed out other controversial things involving Schroder.
The Golden Globe recipient once helped bail out Kyle Rittenhouse who was charged with two counts of murder at a Black Lives Matter protest in Wisconsin. Rittenhouse has since been tried on the charges and acquitted.
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Ribeiro, who starred in Fresh Prince of Bel-Airalso knows Schroder isn’t the only one with far-right political views.
“It all depends on which half you’re talking to that will have an opinion about what his opinion is, right?” Ribeiro says. “Half the country agrees with him and half the country disagrees, unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on the perspective.”
“Does it make it right? Does it make it wrong?” he continued. “It’s an opinion, and we’re all entitled to have our opinions, right or wrong, good or bad. It’s just an opinion, and you don’t have to listen to it if you don’t want to. So it is what is it, right?”
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Ribeiro has remained humble and grounded throughout his successful career, which he believes starts at home.
“Here’s what I’ll say: Most child stars don’t have their parents around,” the father of three shares. “My parents were around. … I think that played a really important role in my teenage to young adult development.”
Ribeiro notes that his upbringing taught him to listen and be open-minded to hearing others.
“It’s a very strange world we all live in, especially at this time in the history of this country,” Ribeiro adds. “It’s not always easy and it’s not always the most simplistic way of looking at things, but I was fortunate enough to have parents that even to this day, I can sit down and have an incredible, intelligent, inspiring conversation with. That keeps me informed on different perspectives.”