After a barrage of headlines claiming that he exited the Mighty Ducks: Game Changers series on Disney+ because of the second season’s COVID vaccine requirements, Emilio Estevez has set the record straight that he is not “anti-vaxx,” and he is leaving the show over a “good old fashioned contract dispute.” Although, it appears to be messier than that.
In a lengthy statement to Deadline, Estevez revealed that he contracted COVID-19 in the very early days of the pandemic. After finally convincing doctors to test him back in March 2020, he suffered from “long haul symptoms” for much of 2020, including during the filming of Game Changers first season. While producers knew about his diagnosis, Estevez never told the public, which he now regrets. He also regrets not fighting back harder against producers’ insistence on still filming the show during a pandemic, which contradicts recent headlines that he wouldn’t comply with safety requirements:
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.
So, I returned to Vancouver. I followed the Canadian quarantine mandate as well as the strict “Zone A” on set Covid protocols. I did not complain, nor did I release my diagnosis to the public. I wanted to try and preserve the show morale and be a leader, however, while still suffering from Long Haul Syndrome. The legacy of the franchise was more important to me than my own health.
In retrospect, I wrongly chose to protect the show over being transparent about having contracted Covid-19. I may have provided another public example to wit, how we are all vulnerable to this deadly disease.
According to Estevez, his reasons for leaving the show have nothing to do with being anti-vaccination, which he again asserts that he is not. He says the much bigger issue is that he’s “anti-bully.”