Former '9-1-1' Star Rockmond Dunbar Sues Fox, Disney Over Denying His COVID-19 Vaccine Exemption

Rockmond Dunbar has filed a federal lawsuit against his former employers, Disney and 20th Television, over his firing from ‘9-1-1’ after refusing to comply with the vaccine mandate.

via People:

The actor, 49, is accusing the companies of racial discrimination for not granting his request for a religious and medical exemption from their COVID vaccine mandate, according to court documents filed on Wednesday and obtained by PEOPLE on Thursday.

Dunbar alleges that other 9-1-1 cast and crew members “who also could not be vaccinated” were given accommodations by the studios, though “none sought a religious exemption and none were Black.”

Dunbar, who played Michael Grant for five seasons on the procedural, claims that after submitting paperwork seeking both a religious and a medical exemption, the producers of 9-1-1 assured they wanted him to remain on the show, but he was ultimately written off the drama series in November.

The lawsuit states, “The administrators who work for [the studios] never took Mr. Dunbar’s requests for accommodations seriously… Defendants refused to believe Mr. Dunbar’s doctor’s recommendation, and they refused to engage with Mr. Dunbar in any meaningful interactive communication regarding his religious beliefs.”

Dunbar is alleging improper dismissal from the FOX show and severe damage to his professional reputation. He claims that his employment agreements were terminated and the studios “wrongfully leaked negative information” about his departure to the media to “deliberately make it sound” like he was an anti-vaxxer.

20th Television responded to the lawsuit in a statement, obtained by PEOPLE, saying, “To ensure safe working environments at our productions we have implemented a mandatory vaccination confirmation process.”

The studio added, “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.”  

In November, Dunbar spoke about his exit from 9-1-1 in a statement obtained by Deadline.

“I applied for religious and medical accommodations pursuant to the law and unfortunately was denied by my employer,” he said at the time. “My sincerely held beliefs and private medical history are very intimate and personal aspects of my life that I do not publicly discuss and have no desire to start now.”

We’re not entirely sure he has a case here, but he’s welcome to try it in court!

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