Emilio Estevez, who is best known for his role as Coach Gordon Bombay in the iconic Mighty Ducks movies, has spoken out about recent reports that he had been let go from the Disney+ television revival of the series for failing to get vaccinated.
Estevez reprised his role as Bombay for the first season of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, but Disney confirmed that he would not be returning for the series’ upcoming second season.
Deadline reported that Disney Television Studios’ ABC Signature, who produce the series, decided not to renew Estevez’s contract after multiple weeks of contact with his team over the series’ vaccination mandate.
They said that Estevez, through his representatives, failed to assure the production studio that he would comply with the policy.
However, Deadline also pointed out that sources close to Estevez said the split was due to creative differences.
He has since shared his side of the story with the publication, saying that his exit from the show was related to a contract dispute and assuring that he isn’t “anti-vaxx”.
“I take this pandemic very seriously, and I am often teased about my continued following of the safety protocols and my abundance of caution,” he said.
“I want to address what transpired and clear up some falsehoods which appeared in an article regarding my decision to depart The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.”
“In the final analysis, this was nothing more than a good old fashioned contract dispute and not, as some would believe an anti-vaccine position. While I can’t speak for anyone else in regards to this polarizing, sensitive issue, I have my own lived experience.”
He said that after shooting the show’s pilot in February, 2020, he contracted Covid-19. He then “suffered the summer and fall of 2020 from what we now know as ‘Long Haul Syndrome.’”
He continued: “As the show went back into production in August 2020, I reluctantly soldiered on, but was uncertain about how I would be safe on set.”
“I questioned the wisdom of returning to make a tv show in the middle of a pandemic and how actors could be considered ‘essential workers.’”
“The show producers tried their best to assuage my fears of coming back to work. ‘You have natural immunity!’ ‘You’ll be the safest one on set,’ I was repeatedly told. Additionally, I was warned by my former reps about possible consequences and legal jeopardy I could face for not reporting to work as ordered.”
He said he returned to the show in order to “preserve morale” and to show some leadership, but he “wrongly chose to protect the show over being transparent about having contracted COVID-19.”
He also said that the “anonymous sources” quoted in the initial article knew about what was really going on. He also notes that he is not anti-vaxx, he’s “anti-bully.”
“My exit from the show was due to a myriad of creative differences – any other narrative is false,” Estevez said.
“It was an honor and a thrill to be able to return as the iconic and beloved character, Gordon Bombay, a character which has been a celebrated benchmark in my 40 year career. And I thank the studio and the producers for creating an opportunity to allow me to visit him again.”