(NEXSTAR) – Actor Steve Burton will not be starring in future episodes of ABC soap opera “General Hospital” after a dispute over the COVID-19 vaccine, Burton confirmed on Instagram Tuesday.
“I know there’s been a lot of rumors and speculations about me and ‘General Hospital,’ and I wanted you to hear it from me personally,” Burton said on Instagram. “Unfortunately ‘General Hospital’ has let me go because of the vaccine mandate.”
Burton, who joined the show in 1992 and played the role of Jason Morgan, said that he applied for both medical and religious exemptions but “both of those were denied.”
The network confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that it was parting ways with Burton over the vaccine policy, which mandates inoculation for cast and crew working in areas where actors aren’t masked.
“This is also about personal freedom to me,” Burton added. “I don’t think anybody should lose their livelihood over this.”
As of publishing time Tuesday, his character biography was still up on the soap opera’s website.
Burton, 51, thanked his fans and co-stars and didn’t rule out a return to the venerable soap.
“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,” Burton said. “And if not, I’m going to take this amazing experience, move forward and be forever grateful.”
Burton isn’t the first actor to be terminated for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. Ingo Rademacher, who had played Jasper “Jax” Jacks on “General Hospital” since 1996, was also let go for refusing to comply with the show’s mandate.
Nexstar reached out to ABC for comment Tuesday but didn’t receive a reply by publishing time.