AceShowbiz - Actor Rockmond Dunbar has departed hit drama "9-1-1" after producers refused to exempt him from COVID vaccine mandates.
The actor, who has played the former husband of Angela Bassett's character on the U.S. series since its 2018 debut, has been written out of the show, according to Deadline.
"I applied for religious and medical accommodations pursuant to the law and unfortunately was denied by my employer," the actor told Deadline. He declined to go into specifics.
"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," Dunbar added. "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."
"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."
A spokesman for 20th Television, which produces the show, told Deadline producers are "very serious" about their filming protocols and cannot allow an unvaccinated person to be part of the cast.
"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," the representative says. "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."
In Monday's (15Nov21) episode, Dunbar's character, who came out as gay in the first season, announced he was joining his boyfriend in Haiti to help with hurricane relief efforts.
Dunbar has been sharing fans' shocked reactions to his departure, with some hoping he'll return as a guest star.
One follower tweeted, "we are going to miss you so much... thank you... we wish you nothing but the best!" and another wrote, "Shoutout to @RockmondDunbar for years of phenomenal work on @911onFOX! The show won't be the same without you!"