9-1-1 alum Rockmond Dunbar is suing the hit Fox series’ producers over the show’s vaccine mandate.
TMZ first reported the news on Thursday, February 17. Dunbar is suing 20th Century Fox, which is now owned by The Walt Disney Company over his exit on the series where he portrayed Michael Grant.
He alleges that the company discriminated against him because he was not approved for the medical or religious exemptions from the show’s vaccine mandate. (This was extended to all of Disney’s television and film productions).
Dunbar claims that he was not allowed on the set and that his character’s storyline would have him leaving temporarily.
The lawsuit claimed that his departure did “severe damage” to his career. He also claimed that other non-Black employees’ requests for exemptions were accommodated. He is seeking over $1 million in contractual and residual payments.
According to the report, Dunbar claimed that the studio made it sound like he was an anti-vaxxer which hurt his career. He also is seeking out an injunction to make the studio not bar anyone with medical or religious exemptions with vaccine mandates.
“To ensure safe working environments at our productions, we have implemented a mandatory vaccination confirmation process,” it read. “While we will not comment on any one individual, each request for exemption is given a thorough review, and we grant accommodations consistent with our legal obligations. There are no differences in our process or decision-making based on an employee’s race.”
Now that his 9-1-1 days are over, for the time being, Dunbar is currently working on a thriller entitled Red Winter.
Dunbar abruptly left 9-1-1 because of the vaccine mandate. The show creators had his character decide to do volunteer work in Haiti with his husband to be.
Rockmond’s ‘9-1-1’ Exit
“I do not publicly discuss [my beliefs and private medical history] and have no desire to start now,” the now-former 9-1-1 castmate stated. “I’ve been an actor in this business for 30 years. But my greatest roles are as a husband and father to our 4 small children.”
Dunbar then said as a man that walks in faith, he looks forward to what the future holds. “I have enjoyed the last five seasons [of 9-1-1] with this wonderful cast and crew. And [I] will cherish the time I’ve been blessed to spend with this season. [I] wish everyone involved nothing but the best.”
Showrunner Tim Minear spoke to Decider regarding his departure.
“You just have to say the Serenity Prayer, in a way,” he said of the situation. “One can’t control other people, nor do I have any interest in controlling other people. The only thing you can really control is your reaction to a situation. I’ve known Rock for many years — we worked together on a show called Terriers, and then I cast him on this show because I knew how genius he was.”
Despite their differences in medical care, Minear still has nothing but respect for him.
“I supported his autonomy to make decisions for himself,” he continued. “And I also explained that the company has a policy, and we work for a company, and there’s only so much I can do. But what I did do was, I facilitated as grateful an exit as I could for him. I didn’t kill him. I could have had his brain tumor come back.”
Minear told the outlet that he is open to his eventual return.