Los Angeles, Nov 25 (IANS) 'General Hospital' star Steve Burton has confirmed on Instagram the rumours that he was fired from the long-running soap opera because he would not get vaccinated against Covid-19.
"I wanted you to hear it from me personally." he said, reports variety.com.
He added: "Unfortunately, 'General Hospital' has let me go because of the vaccine mandate. I 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."
Burton then went on to express gratitude to the show, where he's played Jason Morgan on and off since 1991.
He said: "Maybe one day if these mandates are lifted, I can return and finish my career as Jason Morgan. That would be an honor."
On Monday, Variety reported that it appeared that Burton might have been fired from the show because of this issue.
The vaccine mandate for Zone A at 'General Hospital', which comprises those present on set when the actors aren't wearing masks, and the actors themselves went into effect on November 1.
Actor Ingo Rademacher, whose Instagram is full of vaccine misinformation and propaganda, loudly refused to comply with the vaccine mandate.
His final episode on the show aired Monday.
After Burton's post on Instagram, the channel confirmed that his departure was because of his non-compliance with the show's vaccine mandate.
Burton's ouster had been rumoured in the 'General Hospital' fandom for weeks. He had tested positive for Covid in mid-August, saying he'd been "exposed at work".
During that time, the in-fighting at the show about Covid protocols spilled into the public, and resulted in the vaccine mandate.
Of the four daytime dramas remaining on the networks, 'General Hospital', which is owned by ABC, is the only one that has instituted a vaccine mandate.
'Days of Our Lives', and '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 on-set protocols.
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. On Friday's episode of 'General Hospital', a tunnel collapsed on Jason, which gave even more fuel to fans' theories that Burton had been fired.