US actor Rockmond Dunbar is suing the makers of TV drama 9-1-1, saying he was fired after claiming exemption from having a Covid-19 vaccination.
Dunbar played Michael in seasons 1-5 of the police show.
He says he was denied medical and religious exemptions and faced racial discrimination when 20th Television stipulated actors had to be vaccinated.
The Disney-owned company says it complied with its legal obligations and denied making decisions based on race.
Dunbar, who has appeared on the show since it began on the Fox network in 2018, requested exemptions based on his beliefs as a member of the Church of Universal Wisdom and an undisclosed disability, according to his legal case.
He claims he was refused permission to remain unvaccinated while other cast and crew members – of whom “none sought a religious exemption and none were Black” – were granted exemptions.
The legal action said: “The administrators who work for [20th Television and Disney] never took Mr Dunbar’s requests for accommodations seriously.
“They openly mocked his beliefs and proceeded to deny Mr Dunbar his accommodations, based on nothing more than rank hearsay and assumptions.
“Defendants refused to believe Mr Dunbar’s doctor’s recommendation, and they refused to engage with Mr Dunbar in any meaningful interactive communication regarding his religious beliefs.”
The actor’s legal papers say followers of the Church of Universal Wisdom “are obligated to avoid medical intervention that introduces disease into the body”, and refuse to pierce their skin for medical treatment.
Dunbar is suing 20th Television and The Walt Disney Company for the $1.3m (£955,000), which he says he is owed under the terms of his contract.
In a statement, 20th Television said: “To ensure safe working environments at our productions we have implemented a mandatory vaccination confirmation process.
“While we will not comment on any one individual, each request for exemption is given a thorough review and we grant accommodations consistent with our legal obligations. There are no differences in our process or decision-making based on an employee’s race.”
Disney has not issued any separate comment.