Long-time General Hospital star Ingo Rademacher is out at the ABC daytime drama. He was let go after not complying with the production’s COVID vaccine mandate, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
News of his departure also comes a day after castmates called Rademacher out for sharing an anti-transgender meme on social media. Rademacher’s final episode on the show, where he’s been a regular for most of the past 25 years, is slated for Nov. 22.
Reps for ABC confirm that Rademacher ended his association with General Hospital prior to Sunday.
Rademacher has been outspoken against vaccine mandates. He shared calls for a walkout by health care and government workers this week in his Instagram Stories over the weekend, and said in an Instagram post Sunday, “I will stand with you to fight for medical freedom.”
Rademacher on Sunday also shared a photo of Dr. Rachel Levine, the first transgender person to earn four-star rank in the U.S. uniformed services, and newly elected Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, who will be the first Black woman to hold the post, via Instagram Stories. The caption on the photo reads “Hello, and welcome to ClownTown, where the dude on the left is an empowering woman, and the woman on the right is a white supremacist.”
The post drew sharp criticism from fellow General Hospital stars Cassandra James, a transgender woman, and Nancy Lee Grahn. “I am aware of a transphobic post shared by a fellow General Hospital actor. Shame on you,” James wrote on Twitter. “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.”
James added, “Misgendering trans folks is violence and if you come for one of us, you come for all of us. The cis world doesn’t get to decide which of us is valuable. I am so proud of the fans for always holding us to a high standard, for calling out transphobia and violence.”
Grahn replied to James’ tweet, writing that Rademacher “is mercifully no longer a part of the GH cast. Transphobia & misgendering are disgusting & should be unacceptable in any industry, including soaps/acting. I stand with my costar [James] & the trans community.”
Rademacher doubled down on sharing the meme in an Instagram post Monday, saying in a video that while he thinks it’s “not OK” to call a Black woman a white supremacist, “I don’t think either it’s OK to call a transgender an empowered woman, because where does that leave women?”
“I do apologize for not crossing out ‘dude’ and putting in transgender,” he says later in the video. “Me personally, I wouldn’t have written it that way.” He added that in sharing the post he wanted to call out “the hypocrisy of the left-wing media.”
Rademacher also apologized to James — “I think you’re an absolute talent and you’re very beautiful as well; I don’t think a transphobic man would say that” — and said he would address his status on General Hospital at another time. He then shared an anecdote about his son wanting to a wear a Disney princess dress when he was 3 years old. “I don’t think a transphobic dad would buy his son a Disney princess dress,” he said.
Rademacher has played Jasper “Jax” Jacks on General Hospital since 1996. He also did a year-long stint on CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful from 2017-18 before returning to GH in 2019.
ABC and its parent Disney have dealt with several social media-related controversies in recent years. The network fired Roseanne Barr from its breakout hit Roseanne revival in 2018 after she posted a racist tweet about former Obama White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.
Earlier this year, The Mandalorian‘s Gina Carano was let go from the Disney+ series and dropped by agency UTA after a social media post th5at compared being a Republican to being Jewish in the Holocaust. Emilio Estevez won’t return for season two of the streamer’s Mighty Ducks: Game Changers over what he termed “a myriad of creative differences” in a statement to Deadline; the site also reported that Estevez contracted COVID last year. Sources tell THR Estevez isn’t vaccinated.