‘9-1-1’ actor sues Disney and Fox, claims discrimination over vax mandate that led to star’s ouster

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Rockmond Dunbar, who starred on the hit show “9-1-1” for five seasons, filed a federal lawsuit against Disney and 20th Century Fox on Thursday for “discrimination based on his race and religion” after he was abruptly ousted in November for reportedly refusing to get vaccinated.

The actor asserts that his dismissal from the hit show “severely damaged his career” because he was branded as an anti-vaxxer, which he claims he is not, according to TMZ.

Dunbar’s request for medical and religious exemptions was denied. He is now charging that the studios are refusing to pay him “hundreds of thousands of dollars” he is owed.

He claims he submitted paperwork seeking both a religious and medical exemption for the vaccine and claims producers assured him they wanted him to remain on the show and his schedule would be adjusted to accommodate him being unvaccinated. The suit said Dunbar is “an adherent to the teachings of the Church of Universal Wisdom.”


Instead, Dunbar says he was barred from the set and assured his character’s storyline would show him leaving temporarily, keeping open the possibility for him to return in the future. But, he asserts, that never happened either.

“In retaliation, Defendants summarily terminated Mr. Dunbar’s employment agreement and refused to pay him the hundreds of thousands of dollars that are still owed to him,” the lawsuit reads. “Then, wanting to make an example out of Mr. Dunbar, he believes that Defendants wrongfully leaked negative information to the media about his departure from ‘9-1-1’ including that he sought both religious and medical exemptions that were denied. Defendants deliberately made it sound like Mr. Dunbar was a recalcitrant anti-vaxxer, rather than present the truth – that like millions of other Americans, he is a sincere adherent to a non-mainstream religious belief that prevents him from being vaccinated.”

In August, Dunbar received a 25 percent raise which brought his pay to approximately $80,000 per episode in season five. Deadline is reporting that if he had been vaccinated and gone on to season six, it was projected his pay would have risen to $100,000 per episode.

According to the lawsuit, he claims he was the only black male lead actor on the TV show.

The actor’s on-screen ex-wife, Angela Bassett, who is also black, earns “$450,000 per episode” which is the “highest ever for an actress of color on a broadcast drama series.” So, the claim of racism is not likely to take hold.

Dunbar told Deadline as he exited the show that he would “cherish the time I’ve been blessed to spend with this series and wish everyone involved nothing but the best.”

The suit said Dunbar is “an adherent to the teachings of the Church of Universal Wisdom.”

He also defended his beliefs, “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.”

The self-described “man that walks in faith” is also seeking an “injunction barring the studios from discriminating against anyone based on race or religion when it comes to vaccination policies.”

The actor contends that his priority is his four children, daughter Berkeley, sons Czar, Pharaoh and Sultan, from his eight-year marriage to his second wife Maya Gilbert.

His wife is the story editor for the NBC drama series “Ordinary Joe.”

Dunbar will play Harold in Steven C. Pitts’ snowmobile thriller “Red Winter.” The three-week production wrapped in March 2020 in Colorado.

He is known for his past roles in NBC’s “Earth 2,” Showtime’s “Soul Food,” FX’s “Sons of Anarchy,” CBS’ “The Mentalist,” Hulu’s “The Path,” and Fox’s “Prison Break.”


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