KEY POINTS

  • Rockmond Dunbar requested for medical and religious exemptions amid the vaccination mandates
  • Disney denied his requests and his character was abruptly written off “9-1-1” this week
  • 20th Television said in a statement that they value the health and safety of everyone on the show

“9-1-1” fans won’t be seeing the character Michael Grant anymore after actor Rockmond Dunbar departed the show over his vaccination status. 

Dunbar, 48, was reportedly written off the emergencies services series after he failed to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine mandates that TV productions have recently started to implement, according to Deadline.

Based on Monday night’s episode, Dunbar’s role was abruptly written off the show, to the surprise of many fans. Season 5 opened with a strong storyline for Michael and ex-wife Athena Grant (Angela Bassett), so many were surprised when this week’s installment showed him leaving Los Angeles for Haiti to be with his boyfriend David (La Monde Byrd).

Dunbar was part of the show since its debut in 2018. His departure stemmed from the new protocols imposed by Disney TV Studios’ 20th Television that require all actors to be vaccinated against COVID-19 amid the ongoing pandemic. 

In a statement to Deadline, Dunbar, who has been in the entertainment industry for more than three decades, revealed that he initially asked for a medical exemption, and he also requested for a religious exemption later on. However, both requests were denied by Disney. 

“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,” he told the outlet. 

Dunbar continued, “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. As a man that walks in faith, I look forward to what the future holds.”

The veteran actor concluded his statement by saying that he enjoyed working on the show for the past five seasons and he also had a wonderful time with the cast and crew. Dunbar wished everyone involved in the series “nothing but the best” moving forward. 

Meanwhile, in response to the issue, 20th Television issued a statement saying that they value the health and safety of everyone working on their projects. Hence, they have decided to strictly implement the vaccination requirements. 

“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,” read the statement obtained by Entertainment Weekly

“9-1-1” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. 

Rockmond Dunbar at Paleyfest Pictured: Rockmond Dunbar attends the Paley Center For Media's 2019 PaleyFest LA - "9-1-1" at Dolby Theatre on March 17, 2019 in Hollywood, California. Photo: Chelsea Guglielmino/WireImage/Getty Images