As has been rumored for several weeks, Steve Burton’s run as Jason Morgan on “General Hospital” has come to a close. Burton last appeared on the daytime drama series on Friday, November 19, and he last taped at the show’s Los Angeles studio on October 27 after declining to comply with production’s vaccine mandate, Soap Opera Network can confirm.
Burton confirmed his exit from the series in an Instagram video posted a short time ago and he also confirmed he was let go due to the show’s vaccine mandate which went into effect on November 1, 2021.
In the video, Burton starts off saying, “Well, I know there’s been a lot of rumors and speculation about me and ‘General Hospital,’ and I wanted you to hear it from me personally.” He added, “Unfortunately, ‘General Hospital’ has let me go because of the vaccine mandate.”
Indicating that he applied for both a medical and religious exemption, Burton noted that it was denied by the network. “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. I don’t think anybody 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.”
Noting that when one door closes another opens, Burton says, “It’s always been my perspective, 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 — that would be an honor, and if not, I’m going to take this amazing experience [and] move forward, and be forever grateful.”
Thanking the fans for their love and support, the actor shares, “It means so much to me. So, thank you. I don’t know what my last airdate 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 it’s hard maybe 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.”
In the Monday, November 22 episode which did not show Jason in any capacity, Britt (Kelly Thiebaud), Leisl (Kathleen Gati) and Drew (Cameron Mathison) frantically tried to remove fallen debris from the tunnel collapse but were quickly escorted out by Anna (Finola Hughes) and Robert (Tristan Rogers) for their own safety, and in the hopes that Jason was able to get out on his own another way. Later, they are told that Robert’s men scoured the island only to not find a trace of Jason which gives credence to the possibility that Jason’s body is still in the tunnels, presumably dead from the debris that fell on him on the Friday episode.
At the end of the Monday episode, The Chariot tarot card is shown where viewers last saw Jason. The card is said to represent “willpower, determination, and strength” or “determination, focus, and willpower.” Essentially, the card is supposed to represent a positive outcome.
Burton is the second actor to exit “GH” due to the vaccine mandate. Ingo Rademacher last appeared on the soap on the Monday, November 22 episode with his character, Jasper “Jax” Jacks, suddenly needing to leave town to handle business in Sydney, Australia. Rademacher had been very vocal on social media in recent months over his stance against vaccine mandates.
On August 13, Burton revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19. “Long story short, I was exposed at work. I tested Wednesday [and] I tested negative, and then I wanted to take another test before I got on an airplane to be safe to come out and see you guys and then I tested positive,” Burton stated at the time. A few days later he shared an update, saying, “All is well.” He didn’t indicate in either post his vaccination status leaving some to question his stance on mandates and the vaccine itself.
Watch Burton’s comments on his being let go from the soap below.