Former 9-1-1 cast member Rockmond Dunbar has filed a lawsuit in federal court relating to his abrupt exit from the show, accusing the show’s producers of discriminating against him with their COVID vaccine mandate.
TMZ first reported the lawsuit, in which Dunbar claims that 9-1-1 production company 20th Television and parent company Disney discriminated against him by not approving his religious and medical exemption from the show’s vaccine mandate. The suit also alleges that the dismissal did severe damage to his career and that other non-Black employees’ requests were accommodated while his was not. He’s seeking more than $1 million in residual and contractual payments.
20th Television has released a statement to TVLine in response: “To ensure safe working environments at our productions, we have implemented a mandatory vaccination confirmation process. 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.”
Dunbar exited the Fox drama in November, saying at the time: “I applied for religious and medical accommodations pursuant to the law and unfortunately was denied by my employer. 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.”
20th Television added their own statement at the time: “We take the health and safety of all of our employees very seriously, and have implemented a mandatory vaccination confirmation process for those working in Zone A on our productions. In order to ensure a safer workplace for all, Zone A personnel who do not confirm their vaccination status and do not meet the criteria for exemption will not be eligible to work.”
Dunbar played Michael, the former husband of Angela Bassett’s Athena, since 9-1-1 debuted in 2018. His final episode aired in November, with Michael leaving to join his fiancé David in Haiti.