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Why Fans Are Slamming the "Ted Lasso" Cast's Visit to The White House

Star Jason Sudeikis and some of his castmates were invited to speak on a serious topic.

Ted Lasso has been hailed as feel-good TV, but the cast's latest attempt to spread positivity isn't going over so well. On Monday, March 20, several stars of Ted Lasso appeared at the White House to advocate for mental health awareness. The cast members met with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, and star Jason Sudeikis gave a speech in the press room on the topic.

Advocating for mental health is undoubtedly a good cause, but for some people, the Ted Lasso visit fell short when it comes to actually helping people and generating positive change. Read on to find out more about why social media users are bashing the event as a publicity stunt.

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The Ted Lasso cast was invited for a reason.

The "Ted Lasso" cast at the season 2 premiere in 2021
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

Ted Lasso is a comedy about a fictional English soccer team and the American football coach hired to manage them, despite having no soccer experience. The show, which recently premiered its third season, has tackled mental health in its storylines, including showing Ted experiencing panic attacks and symptoms of depression, as well as going to therapy.

The AP reported prior to the cast visit that a White House official said the Bidens had watched some of the show and knew about its "message of positivity, hope, kindness, and empathy."

Sudeikis told people to support one another.

During the White House visit, Sudeikis gave a speech in which he encouraged people to open up about their mental health and listen to one another.

"We encourage everyone—and it's a big theme of the show—to check in with your neighbor, your coworker, your friends, your family, and ask how they're doing. And listen, sincerely," the actor said.

The actor and co-creator told anyone listening to not be afraid to ask for help or to worry about the "negative stigma" associated with doing so.

"You just want to emulate these make-believe folks that we all play at AFC Richmond and the way they take care of one another," he said of the soccer comedy. "That is the wish fulfillment of the show."

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The event is being slammed online.

In response to videos and news about the White House visit circulating, some social media users have pointed out that raising awareness and holding press conferences isn't enough to solve the mental health crisis in the U.S. (Though, raising awareness and reducing stigmas are important, especially within communities who are less likely to recognize the issue or to seek help.) The criticism is largely aimed at the White House for organizing the visit, not at the actors for taking part.

"This felt really bleak to me. I watched the whole thing, and it felt like a promotion opportunity for the show at points. discussion-driven 'awareness' campaigns don't do it for me but even so, I'm not sure these are the folks who I'd want to hear from anyway," wrote one Twitter user.

Someone else tweeted, "I just don't see the necessity for mental health awareness stuff. People are aware, but we are incapable of providing what's needed. And material changes that are needed, they can only happen from the system. It's literally just pandering, wasting time, and obfuscation."

Another post reads, "wow, thats super cool and all, but you know what would be cooler? funding more mental health initiatives and programs to help those in need."

Someone posted, "Thanks @WhiteHouse and the marketing team at @AppleTV for reminding us that healthcare is the friends we made along the way, not actual healthcare!"

Many suggested actions the administration could take to directly help.

Along with critics calling out the press conference for doing too little, there were calls for universal healthcare and healthcare reform.

"I love parading celebrities out instead of passing Healthcare reform, great country," a Twitter user wrote.

Another said, "Hey Ted we need universal healthcare!"

Someone else shared, "Can't afford a therapist or treatment under our country's nightmarish for-profit excuse of a healthcare system? Try firing up Season 3 of Ted Lasso, now streaming on AppleTV+, and you'll feel better before you know it!"

"Feel like mental health has pretty safely hit the 'breast cancer zone,' where literally everyone is now aware of it but awareness campaigns are all we are ever gonna get when what we really need is free universal healthcare," another tweet reads.

Alongside a photo of Ted Lasso star Hannah Waddingham, who is British, smiling while at the White House, someone wrote, "She's smiling because she has free healthcare for life."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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