‘General Hospital’: Steve Burton Vaccine Unclear After Rademacher Exit

After refusing to comply with the vaccination mandate at the “General Hospital,” Ingo Rademacher, who has played Jasper “Jax” Jacks on the long-running soap opera since 1996, was kicked out of the show, and Monday was his last episode. Jax went on a business trip to Australia, as he has done several times in the past. On November 8, ABC confirmed Rademacher’s departure.

But among “General Hospital” viewers, there is currently a deeper mystery: Steve Burton, who has played the popular character Jason Morgan on and off since 1991, also challenges the “General Hospital” vaccine requirement and, therefore, is it going for the same reason? Burton’s departure has been rumored in fandom for weeks, but an ABC spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment, and Burton’s publicist did not respond to several questions from Variety about his status in the program.

In “General Hospital”, the entire cast and crew of Zone A: which includes those present on set when the actors are not wearing masks, and the actors themselves – they had to be vaccinated as of November 1. The show is filmed weeks in advance, so Rademacher’s farewell episode, and possibly Burton’s on Friday, were filmed before the rule went into effect. In Monday’s episode, after a tunnel collapse on Cassadine Island (fans will know what that means), an invisible Jason is likely under a pile of rubble.

During the summer, the set of “General Hospital” became a controversial place to work. Rig tested positive for COVID in mid-August, saying he had been “exposed at work.” And Rademacher, who frequently promotes anti-vaccine propaganda on Instagram, clashed with his vaccinated castmates and fans, causing #FireIngo to become a trend.

News of Rademacher’s firing broke earlier this month after the actor shared a transphobic meme on his Instagram account. On November 7, the day of that post, Rademacher’s “General Hospital” co-star Cassandra James, who is trans, tweeted: “I am aware of a transphobic post shared by a fellow actor from the General Hospital. You should be ashamed of yourself. You have some serious education and unlearning to do. I am deeply disappointed that such a public display of ignorance can come from our GH family. ”

That night, “General Hospital” star and outspoken vaccine advocate, Nancy Lee Grahn, whose character Alexis is Rademacher’s Jax’s best friend, tweeted in support of James – and named Rademacher after the actor in James’ tweet.

“Fellow actor, #IngoRademacher, is thankfully no longer part of the cast of #gh,” Grahn tweeted. “Transphobia and lack of gender are disgusting and should be unacceptable in any industry, including soap operas and acting. I’m with my co-star @cassandrajames_ and the trans community. “Maurice Benard, star of” General Hospital ” also tweeted in support of James.

Burton’s possible exit has been much smoother. However, some fans somehow deduced that he would not want to comply with the vaccination mandate at the “General Hospital” either. Rumors that Burton is leaving have proliferated in Twitter, and the sites that cover the soap operas have also raised the question.

Recasting popular characters in soap operas and dead characters coming back to life are endemic to the genre. In the past, Jason’s character has been played by other actors, as Burton has pursued other projects, and that’s certainly possible again if Burton is gone. In Rademacher’s case, except for a few episodes in 2008, he has always played Jax. Which doesn’t mean the character can’t be recast, in case the “General Hospital” story is in dire need of Jax, but for now, there are no plans to recast the character.

Of the four daytime dramas that remain on the networks, “General Hospital”, which is owned by ABC, is the only one that has instituted a vaccination mandate. NBC’s “Days of Our Lives,” CBS’s “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” continue to rely on testing, social distancing, and other CDC-recommended guidelines for their initiation protocols.

Rademacher had not appeared at “General Hospital” since October 27. In his final scene on Monday’s episode, and possibly his last appearance as Jax, he said, “I’m a bit on the sidelines with everyone in Port Charles, right?” now ”, perhaps a nod to the audience.

As for Burton’s Jason, several of the show’s characters continue to search for him, vowing not to give up. The question for fans of the “General Hospital” is: is he already gone?

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