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“General Hospital” actor Steve Burton has officially announced his departure from the show after 29 years, citing his refusal to comply with ABC’s vaccine mandate after his attempts to obtain medical and religious exemptions were denied.
The actor posted a video to his Instagram addressing his exit, saying he wanted fans to hear the news from him.
“I wanted you to hear it from me personally,” Burton said in a nod to the rumors that had been swirling about his departure. “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.”
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“I don’t think people should lose their livelihood over this, but with that being said, you know me — I’ll always be grateful for my time at ‘General Hospital.’ I love it there. I grew up there. I grew up with some of you, so I’ll always be grateful, and I believe that when one door closes, multiple doors open. That’s always been my perspective,” Burton continued.
The actor, who tested positive for COVID-19 in August, believed that he had been exposed at work. ABC has recently begun enforcing strict vaccination requirements for cast and crew members.
Shows on competing networks like NBC’s “Days of Our Lives” and CBS’ “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” have not required any kind of vaccine mandate, instead employing other precautionary measures like social distancing.
“So, I am excited to see what the future brings, and maybe one day if these mandates are lifted, I can return and finish my career as Jason Morgan, and that would be an honor — and if not, I’m going to take this amazing experience, move forward and be forever grateful,” Burton maintained.
The actor first joined the “General Hospital” cast in 1992, but remains uncertain of his last airdate. He took a moment to express his gratitude to his fans over the years.
“And I want to say that I am forever grateful for your love and for your support over the years, it means so much to me, so thank you. I don’t know when my last air date is, it may have aired, or it might be tomorrow or the next day, I’m not sure, but I want you guys to have an awesome Thanksgiving. I know maybe it’s hard in this type of situation to be thankful or grateful, but we have so many things to be thankful about and being grateful really is the key. Love you guys. Thank you,” the actor concluded.
Burton is not the only television star to lose his role because of the vaccine mandate. Last week, original “9-1-1” cast member Rockmond Dunbar was written off the Fox series because of his vaccination status.
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