AceShowbiz - "General Hospital" actor Ingo Rademacher filed a lawsuit against ABC on Monday, December 13. In the suit, he Australian star argued that the company's COVID vaccine mandate is unconstitutional and amounts to religious discrimination.
Ingo, who played Jasper "Jax" Jacks on the soap for nearly 25 years before getting fired for refusing to get vaccinated, claimed that he sought a religious exemption from the mandate. However, ABC rejected his exemption attempt.
"I am entitled to a religious exemption against mandatory vaccination for COVID-19 on the basis of my deeply and sincerely held moral belief that my body is endowed by my creator with natural processes to protect me and that its natural integrity cannot ethically be violated by the administration of artificially created copies of genetic material, foreign to nature and experimental," Ingo wrote in an October 11 email to Disney's HR department. He then had an interview with an HR lawyer which "was more akin to cross-examination."
In the lawsuit, Ingo believed that ABC was required to honor his religious exemption. He also called ABC's decision to question the sincerity of his beliefs a religious discrimination.
In addition to Ingo, Steve Burton was also axed from the show over COVID-19 vaccine refusal. Addressing the firing on his social media account, the Jason Morgan depicter said in an Instagram video on November 23, "I wanted you to hear it from me personally. 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," he continued. The 51-year-old then stressed that he didn't agree with ABC's decision to institute a mandate when other soap dramas on competing networks, including NBC's "Days of Our Lives" and CBS' "The Young and the Restless", didn't install such protocols and rely on social distancing at the moment yet.
"I don't think anybody should lose their livelihood over this," Steve added. Despite everything, he expressed his gratitude as saying, "I'll always be grateful for my time on 'General Hospital.' I love it there, I grew up there."