UPDATE: Allison Williams is officially leaving ESPN for good for refusing to comply with the Disney vaccine mandate.
The college football and basketball sideline reporter earlier said that she was opting out for the season. She said she and her husband were trying for a second child. But on Friday night, she said that her “request for accommodation” was denied.
As a result, Williams said, she will be “separated from the company.”
“Belief is a word I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, because in addition to the medical apprehensions regarding my desire to have another child in regards to receiving this injection, I am also so morally and ethically not aligned with this,” Williams said in an Instagram video. “And I’ve had to really dig deep and analyze my values and my morals, and ultimately I need to put them first.
“And the irony in all this is that a lot of those same values and principals I hold so dear are what made me a really good employee and probably helped with the success that I’ve been able to have in my career.”
Disney’s vaccine mandate is set go into effect on Friday.
“While my work is incredibly important to me, the most important role I have is as a mother,” she wrote in a statement on Twitter. “Throughout our family planning with our doctor, as well as a fertility specialist, I have decided not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time while my husband and I try for a second child.
“This was a deeply difficult decision to make and it’s not something I take lightly. I understand vaccines have been essential in the effort to end this pandemic; however, taking the vaccine at this time is not in my best interest. After a lot of prayer and deliberation, I have decided I must put my family and personal health first. I will miss being on the sidelines and am thankful for the support of my ESPN family. I look forward to when I can return to the games and job that I love.”
The CDC encourages all pregnant people or people who are thinking about becoming pregnant and those breastfeeding to get vaccinated to protect themselves from Covid-19, and notes that the vaccines have been deemed safe and effective while warning that severe outcomes from Covid-19 have been documented among unvaccinated pregnant people.
ESPN’s parent company, Disney, said last month that all employees were required to be fully vaccinated.
However, ESPN issued a statement saying that they have a policy of dealing with the vaccine issue on a case-by-case basis.
“We are going through a thorough review of accommodation requests on a case by case basis, and are granting accommodations where warranted,” ESPN’s statement said. “Our focus is on a safe work environment for everyone.”