General Hospital star Steve Burton confirms the long-standing rumors that he's been fired from the daytime soap opera for his refusal to comply with the show's COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Burton shared the news in an Instagram video, announcing the news on Tuesday morning.
"I wanted you to hear it from me personally." he said, before expressing his ideas about his "personal freedom." "Unfortunately, General Hospital has let me go because of the vaccine mandate. I did apply for my medical and religious exemptions, and both of those were denied. Which, you know, hurts. But this is also about personal freedom to me."
"I don't think anyone should lose their livelihood over this. But with that being said, you know me, I'll always be grateful for my time at General Hospital, I love it there."
"Maybe one day if these mandates are lifted, I can return and finish my career as Jason Morgan. That would be an honor," Burton continued.
He joins actor Ingo Rademacher, who was also ousted due to his refusal to comply with the series' mandatory vaccinations. According to Variety, all of the people assigned to Zone 6 on the series –– this includes actors and everyone else who appears on set while the cast records without masks –– are required to receive the vaccine. Rademacher's been fairly vocal about his feelings toward getting the vaccine, which the outlet has debunked, calling the vaccine content posted on his Instagram page "misinformation and propaganda." His last episode aired on Monday.
Rademacher's firing also came after reports that the actor made transphobic tweets online. The actor was called out by his co-star Cassandra James, who identifies as transgender, in a follow-up tweet. "I am aware of a transphobic post shared by a fellow General Hospital actor. Shame on you. You have some serious unlearning and education to do. I feel deeply disappointed that such a public display of ignorance could come from our GH family," she wrote.
She was backed by other actors on the show like Nancy Lee Grahn, another vocal vaccine advocate. "The fellow actor, #IngoRademacher, is mercifully no longer a part of the #gh cast," Grahn tweeted. "Transphobia & misgendering are disgusting & should be unacceptable in any industry, including soaps/acting. I stand with my costar, @cassandrajames_, & the trans community." General Hospital star Maurice Benard also tweeted.