Rockmond Dunbar exit from 9-1-1 explained

Author Ed Anderson
Rockmond DunbarFox

Spoiler warning: Article contains spoilers about the 11/15/2021 episode of 9-1-1

Fans of the hit show, 9-1-1, were surprised last night when Michael Grant announced that he was leaving. This resulted from original cast member Rockmond Dunbar leaving the show over the Covid-19 safety protocols put in place by the studio, 20th Century Fox, including requiring actors to be vaccinated.

Dunbar opposed the mandate.

The popular actor asked for an exemption based on medical and religious reasons. Both were denied by the studio and the studio owner, Disney. 20th Century Fox released a statement on the issue:

"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."

For his part, Dunbar seems to accept that there were reasons for this to happen. While he might be disappointed by the end result, he says that he will stand in his faith and not back down from his position.

"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 4 small children. As a man that walks in faith, I look forward to what the future holds."

It does seem as though both sides are hoping that the situation can be resolved. The show left Dunbar's exit open-ended so that the character may return at some point in the future.

In the episode, Michael decided to propose to his longtime boyfriend, David. After the couple gets engaged, David reveals that he is going to Haiti to help with Hurricane relief. Michael announces to his children and ex-wife that he will be following his fiancé to the ravaged island.

Dunbar added in his statement, "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."

Exit Low

This is not the first time an actor on a Disney production has opted to leave rather than get the vaccine. Last week, Ingo Rademacher left his longtime role of Jasper Jax on General Hospital because he did not comply with the vaccine mandate.

On his social media platforms, Rademacher has been outspoken on vaccine mandates in place. In an Instagram post, he said, "I will stand with you to fight for medical freedom." His association with the venerable soap opera ended prior to the November 1 deadline imposed by Disney.

Over several posts on Instagram and Twitter, Rademacher shared misinformation on the vaccine and falsehoods about the CDC guidelines. He has been very outspoken about his beliefs, even after fans of the show who called for his firing after sharing that he was anti-vaccine. He called them multiple names that were not kind.

Contrasted with Rademacher, Dunbar's exit is much less dramatic.

With news of Dunbar exiting 9-1-1 also came other bad news for the hit procedural. The series saw its lowest ever ratings last night in the 18-49 demographic. That is the number that helps the network set ad rates for the show.

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Ed Anderson is a true crime and gossip writer from Detroit, Michigan. Ed is the author of several true crime books, most recently Cold Cases From Around The World.

Rochester, MI

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