Three former employees have sued Walt Disney World, saying they were fired after refusing to wear face masks and get the COVID-19 vaccine due to religious reasons, according to a lawsuit.
Barbara Andreas, Stephen Cribb and Adam Pajer said in the lawsuit filed June 30 that Disney discriminated against them by not accommodating their requests to be exempt from the company’s mandates requiring the vaccine and facial coverings.
Andres and Cribb were fired in March, while Pajer was let go in June, according to the lawsuit. The trio had worked for the company between seven and 20 years.
Disney’s vaccine mandate was suspended in November after Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida lawmakers limited the power for employers to require workers to be vaccinated.
Three former employees have sued Walt Disney World, saying they were fired after refusing to wear face masks and get the COVID-19 vaccine due to religious reasons, according to a lawsuit
Stephen Cribb, left, and Adam Pajer said they would not receive the jab due to religious reasons
Barbara Andreas is another former Disney employee who has joined the lawsuit filed on June 30
The company later dropped masking requirements for vaccinated employees.
The lawsuit claims that Disney’s ‘augmented protocols’ that were forced on nonvaccinated employees consisted of ‘harsh isolation and restrictions’ that caused ‘serious breathing’ and made it ‘nearly impossible to find a compliant manner and location in which to eat or drink while on shift.’
The suit also states: ‘Disney has brought wonder and magic into the lives and homes of millions,’ but the company has ‘cast itself as the villain’ and ‘a shadow has come over Disney’ during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adreas, who had worked for Disney for 17 years, had sought a religious exemption, claiming that wearing a facial covering is an ‘affront’ to her Christian beliefs.
‘We live by faith not fear,’ Andreas, who was a guest experience manager for Walt Disney World at the ESPN Sports Complex, told WESH.
Andreas had filed for an exemption based on her Christian religion.
I said, I’m very uncomfortable doing this. Now I’ve been going on four months waiting for an exemption to not only the vaccine but mask-wearing as well, all things that I made clear back in August that were a violation to my religious beliefs,’ she explained.
Disney then adjusted its health and safety rules.
‘No longer was the cloth mask sufficient, now it was an N95 with the word warning written across it,’ Andreas said.
The lawsuit also claimed that ‘participating in a medical experiment, such as covid testing or vaccines’ also violated her beliefs because she believes aborted fetal cells were used to manufacture it.
It is not true that the Covid vaccines were made using fetal cell lines and they do not contain any aborted cells.
Vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna used fetal cell lining early during Covid vaccine development to test the efficacy of their formulas.
The fetal tissue that was used in such processes was from elective abortions that occurred decades ago.
The cells used have since replicated many times over and none of the original tissue was used in the making of such modern day vaccines.
Vaccine mandate suspended in November after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and state lawmakers limited the power for employers to require workers to be vaccinated
Disney responded to her request on December 29, saying that ‘after careful review of the information you provided, we are unable to conclude that you are prevented from wearing a face cover due to a sincerely held religious belief, practice or observance.’
The employees cited Biblical scriptures in requesting their accommodations, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit claims that Disney ‘could and should have chosen to accommodate these religious beliefs in practice,’ and that the protocols made it clear the company ‘irrationally’ feared the workers ‘as perpetually exposed or infectious with disease and a perpetual danger to other cast and guests.’
Disney has not responded to a request for comment about the lawsuit.
The ex-employees are seeking an unspecified amount of money to compensate for lost wages, benefits and attorney’s fees, the lawsuit said.
Each of the fired workers reported the company to the Florida Attorney General, the Florida Commission on Human Relations and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming discrimination and retaliation and for violating state laws prohibiting workplace vaccine mandates, the lawsuit said.
They are suing under the Florida statute on whistleblowing, claiming that reporting the company to authorities also led to their firing, the lawsuit said.
Why are fetal cells used to make vaccines?
Historical fetal cell lines were derived in the 1960’s and 1970’s from two elective abortions and have been used to create vaccines for diseases such as hepatitis A, rubella, and rabies.
Abortions from which fetal cells were obtained were elective and were not done for the purpose of vaccine development.
The fetal cell lines being used to produce some of the potential COVID-19 vaccines are from two sources:
● HEK-293: A kidney cell line that was isolated from a fetus in 1973 (undisclosed origin, from either a spontaneous miscarriage or an elective abortion)
● PER.C6: A retinal cell line that was isolated from an aborted fetus in 1985
Any vaccine that relies on these historical cell lines will not require nor solicit new abortions.
To develop and manufacture some vaccines, pharmaceutical companies prefer human cell lines over other cells because:
1) viruses need cells to grow and the viruses tend to grow better in cells from humans than animals (because they infect humans)
2) fetal cells can be used longer than other cell types
3) fetal cells can be maintained at low temperatures, allowing scientists to continue using cell lines from decades ago.
While fetal cell lines may be used to develop or manufacture COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccines themselves do not contain any aborted fetal cells
Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health