During last night’s new episode of 9-1-1 season 5, it was revealed that Rockmond Dunbar was leaving the show. He’d been a part of it for several years, and his exit as Michael comes as somewhat of a shock. The character made a decision to leave town last night, and we understand more than ever that this exit is likely to be permanent.
What’s the reason for it? Per a report from Deadline, the actor has decided not to comply with a required vaccine mandate behind-the-scenes on the series. All actors are being required to receive a vaccination in order to continue working, and as Dunbar explains in a statement, his attempts to receive a religious or medical exemption were denied:
“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. I’ve been an actor in this business for 30 years, but my greatest roles are as a husband and father to our four small children. As a man that walks in faith, I look forward to what the future holds. I have enjoyed the last 5 seasons with this wonderful cast and crew and will cherish the time I’ve been blessed to spend with this series and wish everyone involved nothing but the best.”
Meanwhile, a representative for studio 20th Television (who produce 9-1-1) had the following to say:
“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.”
Ultimately, this is what it comes down to. Because Dunbar chose not to be vaccinated, he is not on the show anymore. This is not the first instance of an actor stepping away from a TV show due to this requirement; previously, we saw something similar transpire with Emilio Estevez on The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers. Nonetheless, all of this is bound to come as a shock, especially since we hadn’t heard of a Michael exit prior to last night.
Are you shocked that Rockmond Dunbar is leaving 9-1-1, especially for this reason?
Be sure to let us know in the comments, and remember to stick around to get some other news related to the show. (Photo: Fox.)
This article was written by Jess Carter. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.