Steve Burton, who played Jason Morgan on the show joins Ingo Rademacher in leaving the show for refusing vaccination.
'General Hospital' star Steve Burton says he has been fired from the show after 29 years for refusing to get vaccinated. Burton, who played Jason Morgan on the daytime drama, confirmed the rumors that he was asked to leave the show for not complying with the on-set vaccination mandate. Ingo Rademacher, another regular fixture on the show had left the show earlier for the same reason. Burton posted a video explaining the same. "Unfortunately, 'General Hospital' has let me go because of the vaccine mandate," said Burton. "I did apply for my medical and religious exemptions and both of those were denied. Which, you know, hurts." Steve Burton has been part of the show since 1991, reported CNN. He captioned the video: "Hey! I wanted you to hear it from me. I love and appreciate all of you!"
General Hospital is a daytime drama set in the fictional town of Port Charles, New York and has been aired since 1963. The vaccine mandate was instituted on November 1 for those working in Zone A, the part of the set where actors work unmasked. Both Burton and Rademacher were critical of the mandate when it was announced. Burton, who initially claimed to have asked for medical and religious exemptions, said it was 'also about personal freedom.' He said, "I don’t think anyone should lose their livelihood over this.” Nearly 800,000 people have died as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and it has been revealed that 97% of people being hospitalized due to Coronavirus are unvaccinated, revealed CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, reported NPR. Rademacher supported Rademacher's stance, writing, “I will stand with you to fight for medical freedom.” Rademacher played Jasper “Jax” Jacks on the show for 25 years before leaving the show. Rademacher was also guilty of posting a series of controversial social media posts with misleading information about the Coronavirus vaccine.
Other Hollywood productions have imposed similar on-set mandates, but there is no universal vaccination requirement for people who work in film and television. Rademacher's last episode was aired last Monday and his character said he would be returning to Australia, effectively ending his role in the daytime drama. “I’m kind of on the outs with everyone in Port Charles right now,” said his character. Burton left the door open for a return. "I'll always be thankful for my time at General Hospital. I love it there. I grew up there. I grew up with some of you," said Burton, before adding that he would love to continue playing Jason Morgan once the vaccine mandate is lifted. “And if not, I’m going to take this experience, move forward, and be forever grateful,” he said. Burton had tested positive for Coronavirus in August and claimed to have been exposed at work.
General Hospital actor Nancy Lee Grahn, who portrays Alexis Davis on the soap opera, revealed in August that she was working with "unmasked, unvaccinated actors." This was putting not just the actors but the whole crew at risk, and potentially jeopardizing the production as well. Many actors have hit out against anti-vaxxers including George Clooney. “It’s stupid. And it’s stupid because every generation in our country for more than a lifetime has been asked to sacrifice something for the safety of their fellow man — get shot, fight Nazis,” he said, reported The Hollywood Reporter. “All that anyone’s being asked here is to get a shot in the arm and put on a mask. Grow up. Get something done.”
As we reported, Mandalorian star Giancarlo Esposito called out anti-vaxxers for refusing the vaccine. People on movie sets could be forced to quarantine for two weeks as a result of one irresponsible adult and Esposito says they have no right to endanger the lives or the livelihoods of others. Esposito didn't mince his words as he hit out anti-vaxxers in Hollywood. “If you don’t want to vaccinate, go to a small island and sequester yourself. [Otherwise] you’re saying ‘F*ck you’ to all you other human beings.”
Disclaimer: Information about the pandemic is swiftly changing, and Upworthy is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication. Therefore, we encourage you to also regularly check online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization.