Emilio Estevez denies quitting The Mighty Ducks over Covid-19 vaccine requirement

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Emilio Estevez has denied exiting The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers over the show's Covid-19 vaccine requirement.

The Breakfast Club star reprised his role as ice hockey coach Gordon Bombay, the character he played in the original Mighty Ducks films, for the Disney+ series, which debuted to positive reviews earlier this year.

It was reported last week that Estevez would not be returning for the second season due to a disagreement about the vaccine requirement, and on Monday, he issued a lengthy statement to Deadline to explain that his decision was down to a contract dispute.

"I am not anti-vaxx. Full stop," his statement reads. "I take this pandemic very seriously, and I am often teased about my continued following of the safety protocols and my abundance of caution... This was nothing more than a good old-fashioned contract dispute and not, as some would believe, an anti-vaccine position."

The 59-year-old went on to reveal that he contracted coronavirus in March 2020 after shooting the show's pilot and "soldiered on" despite suffering from 'Long Covid' when the production resumed that August, although he had reservations about returning to work amid the pandemic. He claimed he was warned about the "possible consequences and legal jeopardy" he could face if he did not comply.

"My exit from the show was due to a myriad of creative differences – any other narrative is false," he continued. "To the fans of the franchise – I am as disappointed as you are. To my Ducks cast and crew – have a wonderful Season 2 on the show and please know that I will miss you all.

"It was an honour 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."

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