Rockmond Dunbar is taking legal action against 20th Television and its parent company, Disney, for discrimination.
You may recall, the actor exited Fox’s hit drama series “9-1-1” in November because of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
On the show, Rockmond played the role of Michael, the ex-husband of Angela Bassett’s character, on the drama series from its inception.
After the studio denied his request for a religious exemption from the COVID-19 protocols that require all actors to be vaccinated, Rockmond was abruptly written off of the show.
He is now suing 20th Television and Disney claiming the studio engaged in discrimination, they mocked his religious beliefs, barred him from the set, and hampered his ability to get other work by painting him out to be an anti-vaxxer.
The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in U.S. District Court states:
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.
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.
According to the lawsuit, Rockmond Dunbar is “an adherent to the teachings of the Church of Universal Wisdom.”
The 45-page suit also alleges:
On information and belief, Disney has a history of racial discrimination, and Mr. Dunbar was subjected to disparate treatment and disparate impact discrimination on the basis of his race.
On information and belief, non-minority employees similarly situated were not subject to termination when they refused the COVID-19 vaccine.
While they declined to speak on the lawsuit, 20th Television and Disney did tell Deadline:
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.
Rockmond Dunbar is seeking over $1.3 million in compensation owed to him under his contract, as well as wide-ranging other damages and injunctions in the civil rights-based action.