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๐๐ฎ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ ๐‹๐จ๐จ๐ฆ ๐€๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐’๐ญ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž ๐๐ฎ๐ซ๐ญ๐จ๐งโ€™๐ฌ โ€˜๐†๐ž๐ง๐ž๐ซ๐š๐ฅ ๐‡๐จ๐ฌ๐ฉ๐ข๐ญ๐š๐ฅโ€™ ๐’๐ญ๐š๐ญ๐ฎ๐ฌโ€‹,โ€‹ ๐š๐ฌ โ€‹๐ˆ๐ง๐ ๐จ ๐‘๐š๐๐ž๐ฆ๐š๐œ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐Ž๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐€๐Ÿ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ ๐‘๐ž๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐จ ๐‚๐จ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐–๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐•๐š๐œ๐œ๐ข๐ง๐ž ๐Œ๐š๐ง๐๐š๐ญ๐ž

Ingo Rademacher Steve Burton Anti-Vaxx

After refusing to comply with the vaccine mandate at โ€œGeneral Hospital,โ€ Ingo Rademacher โ€” who has played Jasper โ€œJaxโ€ Jacks on the long-running soap opera since 1996 โ€” was ousted from the show, and Monday was his final episode. Jax left on a business trip to Australia, as he has several times in the past. On Nov. 8, ABC confirmed Rademacherโ€™s departure.

But among โ€œGeneral Hospitalโ€ viewers, thereโ€™s currently a deeper mystery: Is Steve Burton, who has played the popular character Jason Morgan off and on since 1991, also defying the โ€œGeneral Hospitalโ€ vaccine requirement, and therefore leaving for the same reason? Burtonโ€™s departure has been rumored in the fandom for weeks, but an ABC spokesperson didnโ€™t respond to a request for comment, and Burtonโ€™s publicist did not answer several inquiries from Variety about his status on the show.

Justin Michael (@justymike529) / Twitter

At โ€œGeneral Hospital,โ€ all cast and crew in Zone A โ€” which comprises those present on set when the actors arenโ€™t wearing masks, and the actors themselves โ€” were required to be vaccinated as of Nov. 1. The show films weeks ahead, so Rademacherโ€™s goodbye episode, and possibly Burtonโ€™s on Friday, were filmed before the rule went into effect. On Mondayโ€™s episode, after a tunnel collapse on Cassadine Island (fans will know what that means), an unseen Jason is likely under a pile of rubble.

Over the summer, the set of โ€œGeneral Hospitalโ€ became a contentious place to work. Burton tested positive for COVID in mid-August, saying heโ€™d been โ€œexposed at work.โ€ And Rademacher, who frequently touts anti-vaccine propaganda on Instagram, clashed with his vaccinated castmates โ€” and with fans, who caused #FireIngo to trend.

The news of Rademacherโ€™s firing broke earlier this month after the actor shared a transphobic meme on his Instagram account. On Nov. 7, the day of that post, Rademacherโ€™s โ€œGeneral Hospitalโ€ co-star Cassandra James, who is trans, tweeted: โ€œI 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.โ€

That night, longtime โ€œGeneral Hospitalโ€ star and outspoken vaccine advocate Nancy Lee Grahn, whose character Alexis is best friends with Rademacherโ€™s Jax, tweeted in support of James โ€” and named Rademacher as the actor in Jamesโ€™ tweet.

General Hospital's Nancy Lee Grahn's Dog Cuddling in Bed With Fiancรฉ | Soaps.com

โ€œThe fellow actor, #IngoRademacher, is mercifully no longer a part of the #gh cast,โ€ Grahn tweeted. โ€œTransphobia & misgendering are disgusting & should be unacceptable in any industry, including soaps/acting. I stand with my costar, @cassandrajames_, & the trans community.โ€ โ€œGeneral Hospitalโ€ star Maurice Benard also tweeted in support of James.

General Hospital': Ingo Rademacher Out at ABC Soap โ€“ The Hollywood Reporter

Burtonโ€™s possible departure has been much quieter. Somehow, though, some fans deduced that he, too, wouldnโ€™t want to comply with the vaccine mandate at โ€œGeneral Hospital.โ€ Rumors that Burton is leaving have been rampant on Twitter, and the sites that cover soap operas have raised the question as well.

Is Steve Burton Leaving General Hospital? - General Hospital Tea

Recasting popular characters on soap operas and dead characters coming back to life are endemic to the genre. In the past, the Jason character has been played by other actors, as Burton has pursued other projects โ€” and that is certainly possible again if Burton has in fact left. In the case of Rademacher, except for a few episodes in 2008, he has always played Jax. Which doesnโ€™t mean that the character couldnโ€™t be recast, should the โ€œGeneral Hospitalโ€ storyline have an urgent need for Jax, but for now, there are no plans to recast the character.

Of the four daytime dramas remaining on the networks, โ€œGeneral Hospital,โ€ which is owned by ABC, is the only one that has instituted a vaccine mandate. NBCโ€™s โ€œDays of Our Lives,โ€ and CBSโ€™ โ€œThe Young and the Restlessโ€ and โ€œThe Bold and the Beautifulโ€ continue to rely on testing, social distancing and other CDC-recommended guidelines for their on-set protocols.

Rademacher hadnโ€™t appeared on โ€œGeneral Hospitalโ€ since Oct. 27. In his final scene in Mondayโ€™s episode, and possibly his last appearance as Jax ever, he said, โ€œIโ€™m kind of on the outs with everyone in Port Charles right nowโ€ โ€” perhaps a wink at the audience.

As for Burtonโ€™s Jason, several of the showโ€™s characters continue to look for him, vowing not to give up. The question for โ€œGeneral Hospitalโ€ fans is: Is he already gone?

Steve Burton Shares Exciting News With Fans! - Soaps In Depth

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