General Hospital’s Steve Burton, who has played the role of Jason Morgan on and off since 1991, is leaving the long-running ABC soap opera after deciding not to get vaccinated. The 51-year-old actor took to social media on Tuesday, November 23 to confirm he had been fired by the series for not complying with the show’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Burton said via Instagram: “Well, I know there’s a lot of rumors and speculation about me and General Hospital, and I wanted you to hear it from me personally. Unfortunately, General Hospital has let me go because of the vaccine mandate.”  In his video, Burton explained that he “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.”  He also noted that he’ll always be grateful for the show that gave him his start, adding: “I love it there, I grew up there, I grew up with some of you. Maybe one day if these mandates are lifted, I can return and finish my career as Jason Morgan. That would be an honor.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network later confirmed that Burton was dismissed for his inability to comply with their vaccine policy. His last day was October 27.  Burton’s departure comes two weeks after his costar Ingo Rademacher, who played Jasper “Jax” Jacks on GH, was also fired for refusing to get the vaccine. Rademacher had been outspoken on social media about his opposition to vaccine mandates, posting Nov. 7th on Instagram: “I will stand with you to fight for medical freedom” and adding the hashtag “no mandates.”

Editorial credit: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com

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