Longtime “General Hospital” star Ingo Rademacher is out at the long-running ABC soap opera because he declined to comply with the production’s vaccine mandate. His last episode is scheduled to air on Nov. 22, Variety confirmed.
News of his departure comes amid backlash to a transphobic meme and anti-vax sentiment he posted on social media Sunday. Rademacher has played the character Jasper “Jax” Jacks on the daytime medical drama since 1996 and has been a regular on the show for 25 of its 59 seasons.
The anti-trans meme shared by Rademacher on his Instagram account was a photo of recently elected Virginia lieutenant governor Winsome Sears, the first Black woman to hold the post, and Dr. Rachel Levine, a four-star admiral in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. The image’s caption was: “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.” It had originally been posted by a conservative commentator.
Rademacher also shared an anti-vaxxer message on Instagram on Sunday. It stated that he would “stand with you to fight for medical freedom.” Before this incident, the actor had been outspoken on his social platforms about his opposition to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and had subsequently come under heat for his views.
On Monday, Rademacher posted a video of himself on Instagram apologizing for not “crossing out dude” in the meme and that his intention was to highlight the “hypocrisy of the left-wing media.” He also directly apologized to Cassandra James, a transgender woman and “General Hospital” co-star, calling her an “absolute talent” and “very beautiful.” James had previously reacted to the transphobic post on Twitter, expressing her disappointment with Rademacher.
I am aware of a transphobic post shared by a fellow General Hospital actor. Shame on you. 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.
— Cassandra James (@cassandrajames_) November 8, 2021
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.