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9-1-1 star Rockmond Dunbar exits show over vaccination protocols

Michael actor Rockmond Dunbar bowed out of the Fox show on Monday night's episode

9 1 1
Eve Crosbie
TV & Film Writer
Updated: November 17, 2021
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9-1-1 fans have been left emotional after bidding farewell to another fan favorite character on Monday night's episode.

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The episode saw Rockmond Dunbar's Michael Grant pop the question to his partner David (La Monde Byrd) after learning that he will be traveling to Haiti for several months to help with hurricane relief efforts. However, in true 9-1-1 fashion, the proposal was far from straightforward. Michael was left waiting on one knee outside of the hospital for a long time after an explosion went off inside. Despite being ordered to evacuate, his beau David stayed put in surgery to finish removing a patient's brain tumor. After the tense scenes, David emerged and tearily said yes.

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However, the good news was immediately followed by some bad; Michael revealed that he has decided to join David in Haiti indefinitely. "I can't save lives, but I can help rebuild one," he told his ex-wife Athena (Angela Bassett) and children, who were at first shocked, but soon came round to the idea.

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Following the end of the episode, the actor took to Twitter to retweet a number of fans who shared sweet words. One read: "Happy for the character but will miss the wonderful @RockmondDunbar on Monday nights," while another said: "@RockmondDunbar is leaving 911 and while I support the decision no one talk to me for 7-10 business days #911onFOX.

9 1 1© Photo: Getty Images

Michael made two big decisions in Monday night's episode

Rockmond later confirmed his departure was due to COVID-19 vaccination protocols on the show, produced by Disney TV Studios’ 20th Television, which requires all actors to be vaccinated. "I applied for religious and medical accommodations pursuant to the law and unfortunately was denied by my employer," he said in a statement to Deadline.

"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."

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Michael's departure marks the second major character exit on this season of 9-1-1. Back in October, Jennifer Love Hewitt bowed out as her character Maddie left Los Angeles to find some help for her deteriorating mental state. The new mom had been struggling with motherhood and decided to leave her daughter Jee-Yun with her father, Howard' Chimney' Han.

Viewers can, however, expect to see Jennifer back on the show soon when her real-life maternity leave comes to an end. However, a question mark remains over whether we'll ever see Rockmund again.

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