Fired 9-1-1 actor Rockmond Dunbar sues for discrimination over vaccine mandate

Spoilers for previously aired episodes of 9-1-1
In November we learned that Rockmond Dunbar, who played Michael Grant on 9-1-1, was being written off the show for refusing to comply with the vaccine mandate. Dunbar’s reasoning, like many antivaxxers, was sketchy. His statement cited both religious and medical exemptions, claiming that both were denied and that “My sincerely held beliefs and private medical history are very intimate and personal aspects of my life that I do not publicly discuss.” He also called himself a “man who walks in faith.” Hopefully he also wears a mask everywhere. I watch 9-1-1 (I also highly recommend 9-1-1: Lone Star) and Michael’s send off, complete with a sweet montage, was much more than he deserved. Dunbar is now suing over his termination, claiming discrimination.

Rockmond Dunbar has filed a federal lawsuit against his former employers, Disney and 20th Television, over his firing from 9-1-1.

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.”

[From People]

I was ready to dismiss this case out of hand, because antivaxxers are some of the most entitled assholes on the planet, but if it’s true that white cast and crew were given exemptions and he was not, then Dunbar has a point. I hate to admit that, but if anyone else on that show is not vaccinated I hope they’re outed. I’ve had suspicions about Ryan Guzman for a while. He plays Eddie Diaz, and there’s some question as to his character’s fate following the midseason finale. Guzman has posted antivax content from Joe Rogan and Tucker Carlson to his Instagram stories AND he’s defended using the N word. In no way do I feel sorry for Dunbar or think he should keep his job, but if he’s outing his employers for protecting other antivaxxers, especially another lead, I’m all for it.

This douche. I like the actor who plays his kid and the woman who is his kid’s babysitter but he could otherwise go and I would not miss him.

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10 Responses to “Fired 9-1-1 actor Rockmond Dunbar sues for discrimination over vaccine mandate”

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  1. Mia4s says:

    Ehhh, while it definitely deserves a look if there were other exemptions, the “I have a medical condition oh wait you don’t buy that one and I have no compelling evidence, well actually I’m super-religious then” line is pretty pathetic. There are grounds for legitimate exemptions…not many!…but there are a few.

    But the policies absolutely must be consistent.

  2. Nicole says:

    This is a production that films practically in my backyard. I’m truly sorry for all the controversy, but I’m not sorry for consequences. You played both religious and medical exemption card. Which one is it? Where’s the documentation? LA Productions and LA County were not playing with vaccinations and Covid rules. I did not know that Eddie Diaz was so detestable. I know his character was shot, now that I know his stance, he can go. They can all go. Public Health FTW.

  3. Case says:

    LOL. Well to start, there are very very few religions that expressly prohibit vaccination. I can buy someone having a medical exemption (they’re undergoing treatment where they can’t receive it; they have an allergy to an ingredient, etc), but that should be easy to prove from a doctor’s note. Which tells me both of these claims were bogus.

  4. Luna17 says:

    I feel like this is bs. It seems like every set is requiring everyone to be vaxxed. I live where many shows are filmed and I follow extra casting directors and all extras and crew and cast have to be fully vaxxed to work. These sets aren’t fing around. If they are even accepting exemptions (big if because these sets here aren’t) then he shouldn’t be treated differently but if one cast member is allergic to a vaccine ingredient and has doctors sign off on it and he is trying to say he is a Christian scientist and doesn’t believe in it, that’s not the same! Religious exemptions aren’t the same as actual medical exemptions and I feel like these actors are trying to act like they are. One is real and one is fake. Anyways I’m sure there are dozens of vaxxed actors ready to take his place.

  5. E says:

    To my knowledge there haven’t been any head religious leaders who have come out against the vaccine except of course Jehovah’s Witnesses. I think the head Evangelical guy has even said it’s not against their belief’s, so I don’t see how anyone could claim religious exemption.

    • Emma says:

      The Church of Christ, Scientist, and Dutch Reformed Church are both opposed to vaccination, I believe. With that said, I’d be shocked if in this day and age they didn’t accept a religious exemption / objection so I’m wondering if he really had one . . . If so he definitely has a case.

      • Doodle says:

        I grew up in the Dutch reformed church (crc) and we weren’t opposed to vaccination. I had all my vaccines growing up. Everyone I know who still goes – my family doesn’t – has their Covid shot.

    • Eviesmom says:

      All of my JW family members are vaccinated. It’s blood transfusions they freak out about… 😀

  6. Miranda says:

    His claims of racism need to be investigated and, if true, people need to punished, but miss me with the “but my religion!” bullsh-t. Various religions often differ widely, and within each religion, even the most miniscule differences are liable to cause everything from schisms to outright genocide, so it’s unsurprisingly exceedingly easy to find some religious authority willing to vouch for literally any dubious position a person may adhere to. Granted, there are doctors who will do that for vaccination, but at least they’re subject to more professional scrutiny, while religious leaders will cry “persecution!” if you question their beliefs regarding what should be common-sense issues like child abuse and sexual assault. Forgive me if I’m skeptical of their holy “wisdom” when it comes to what’s best for public health.

  7. jferber says:

    Guzman looks like a super-douche in this photo and Dunbar is absolutely right that ANYONE who isn’t vaxxed must be fired from the show, not just Dunbar. That would be unfair and I’m sure illegal. The rules must be the same for all.