Emilio Estevez Addresses Departure From The Mighty Ducks Series, Denies Being Anti-Vax

Emilio Estevez spoke out following his departure from the Disney+ series The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, insisting that he chose not to return for a second season due to a "contract dispute."

By Gabrielle Chung Nov 08, 2021 10:31 PMTags
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Emilio Estevez is speaking out amid news of his exit from the Disney+ series, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers.

On Monday, Nov. 8, the 59-year-old actor released a statement regarding his departure from the show to "clear up some falsehoods," explaining to Deadline that he decided not to return for a second season due to a "contract dispute and not, as some would believe an anti-vaccine position."

His statement came days after it was reported that the production company, ABC Signature, chose not to renew Estevez's contract because the star would not confirm if he would comply with their COVID-19 vaccination policy. 

Responding to the report, Estevez denied that he left the series due to the vaccine mandate, saying, "I am not anti-vaxx. Full stop."

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"My exit from the show was due to a myriad of creative differences – any other narrative is false," he said in his statement.

Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF

"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," Estevez continued. "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."

Elsewhere in his statement, Estevez shared his "own lived experience" with COVID-19 and revealed that he had tested positive for the respiratory virus in March 2020, shortly after filming the show's pilot in Vancouver.

According to Estevez, he experienced "what we now know as 'Long Haul Syndrome'" the following summer but "reluctantly soldiered on" and returned to set that August at the urging of producers and his former reps.

"I did not complain, nor did I release my diagnosis to the public," said Estevez. "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," Estevez continued. "I may have provided another public example to wit, how we are all vulnerable to this deadly disease."


As for his decision to leave the series following one season, Estevez said, "Simply put, I am anti-bully."

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is a continuation of 1992's iconic hockey movie The Mighty Ducks and its two sequels, all of which Estevez appeared in as coach Gordon Bombay. The series, which also stars Lauren Graham, premiered on Disney+ this March.

E! News has reached out to Estevez's rep for comment.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic and for tips on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, please visit The Center for Disease Control and Prevention at https://www.cdc.gov. To plan your vaccine, head to NBC's Plan Your Vaccine site at PlanYourVaccine.com.