Rumors and speculation have been flying around the internet recently but now Steve Burton has confirmed that he is leaving GENERAL HOSPITAL for refusing to comply with the vaccine mandate. In fact, he has already left, because his final episode aired on Nov. 19 when Jason was presumed dead after a tunnel collapse on Cassadine Island.
“I wanted you to hear it from me, personally,” Burton explained in an Instagram video posted on Nov. 23. “Unfortunately, GH 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 hurt, but this is also about personal freedom to me. I don’t think anyone should lose their livelihood over this.
“But with that being said, you know me, I’ll always be grateful for my time at GH,” he continued. “I grew up there. I grew up there 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. So I am excited to see what the future brings.”
Burton joined the cast of GH back in 1991 and remained with the soap until 2012, when he moved over to the CBS sudser THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS to play Dylan McAvoy from 2013-17. Then he returned to GH to reclaim the role of Jason Morgan, which had been recast with actor Billy Miller (who was later revealed to be Jason’s twin, Drew Cain).
Due to the ongoing global pandemic, ABC/Disney currently has a vaccine mandate for its productions requiring cast and crew to be vaccinated against the deadly virus in order to protect everyone involved. (Burton actually contracted COVID back in August of this year.) Unfortunately, some GH cast members chose not to receive the vaccine, and Ingo Rademacher was also let go from the soap recently.
However, Jason has only been presumed dead, and without a body, that makes it very easy for the writers to bring him back at some point in the future. “Maybe one day if these mandates are lifted, I can return and finish my career as Jason Morgan,” he mused. “That would be an honor. And if not, I’m gonna take this amazing experience, move forward, and be forever grateful.
“And I gotta say that I am forever grateful for your love and support over the years,” he told the fans. “It means so much to me. So thank you.”