Actor and producer Emilio Estevez is reportedly leaving The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers over Disney’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
“Disney Television Studios’ ABC Signature, which produces the hockey-themed sequel series, made the decision not to pick up Estevez’s option for Season 2 after weeks of back and forth with his team over the show’s COVID vaccination requirement,” Deadline reported Friday.
Estevez served as both an actor and as an executive producer of the show, which airs on Disney+.
— New York Post (@nypost) November 6, 2021
According to reports, Disney has implemented a vaccine policy that requires all cast and crew members for the second season of the program to roll up their sleeves for the COVID-19 shots.
It appears the series will continue, but Estevez will no longer be part of it.
In addition to his reported hesitancy to get vaccinated, “sources close to Estevez indicate that creative differences may have played a role in his exit,” Deadline reported.
But the series may not be the same without Estevez. Playing the character of Coach Bombay, he served as the star of the original film nearly 20 years ago in one of Disney’s enduring sports franchises.
According to the U.K.’s Daily Mail, “Emilio joins a growing list of celebrities declining the shot, including Ice Cube, real name O’Shea Jackson Sr., who recently exited Sony’s comedy Oh Hell No after declining a request from producers to get vaccinated.”
Other stars to have become top voices in the anti-vaccination movement include rapper Nicki Minaj and model Doutzen Kroes.
“Although my hands are shaking while writing this, I feel it is time to choose courage over comfort and speak my truth,” Kroes wrote in an Instagram post, according to The Cut. “I will not be forced to take the shot. I will not be forced to prove my health to participate in society. I will not accept exclusion of people based on their medical status.”
Professional athletes including Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers have also taken a stand against the mandates. Rodgers tested positive for the coronavirus recently and was not vaccinated, meaning he must undergo a 10-day isolation period before being allowed to return to the field, The Athletic reports.