Award-winning soap opera star Steve Burton has been fired from ABC's "General Hospital" after he refused to get thevaccine, he confirmed in an Instagram video on Tuesday. Burton, who has been on the show intermittently since 1992, portrayed the character of Jason Morgan.
"I wanted you to hear it from me personally. Unfortunately, 'General Hospital' has let me go because of the vaccine mandate," he said in a video posted on his Instagram. "I did apply for my medical and religious exemptions and both of those were denied, which hurts but this is also about personal freedom to me. I don't think anybody should lose their livelihood over this."
"General Hospital" cast members were required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 1, and was the first daytime serial to mandate vaccines, said actress Nancy Lee Grahn, who portrays Alexis Davis on the soap opera.
Burton, who, according to Deadline, contracted COVID-19 in August, filmed his last episode on October 27 after he failed to comply with the company's mandate. Burton said in the video that he wasn't sure when his last air date will be, or if it already happened.
"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," Burton continued. "...Maybe one day if these vaccine mandates are lifted, I can return and finish my career as Jason Morgan. That would be an honor. And if not, I'm going to take this amazing experience, move forward, and be forever grateful."
Burton's exit comes amid significant controversy on the show regarding COVID-19.
Earlier this month, another "General Hospital" actor, Ingo Rademacher, who plays Jasper Jacks, was fired after posting a series of controversial social media posts. He has posted several videos and photos on Instagram with misleading information about the COVID vaccine and repeatedly saying he will "stand with you to fight for medical freedom."
And in August, Grahn tweeted that she was working with "unmasked, unvaccinated actors," and asking the presidential candidates for her union to address the situation.
"My union thus far @sagaftra has allowed this," she said. "Full stop."