Steve Burton returning to ‘General Hospital’ after being fired for refusing Covid vaccine

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Steve Burton will return to “General Hospital” after having been fired in November 2021 because of his refusal to get the Covid vaccine.

At the time, Burton was one of two actors on the long-running ABC soap opera who refused to be vaccinated; Ingo Rademacher was also fired. Rademacher later sued ABC and lost.

Burton made the announcement of his return himself, during an ABC primetime special Thursday night celebrating the show’s 60th anniversary.

“Happy anniversary, ‘General Hospital,’” Burton said as he walked through a doorway, flanked by cast members Laura Wright and Kelly Monaco. “Big things are coming to Port Charles.”

Burton played Jason Morgan on the ABC soap off and on since 1991, but on the Nov. 19, 2021 episode, a tunnel on Cassadine Island collapsed on Jason, and he’s been presumed dead since. His body was not found, of course. At the time, Variety reported that the show would not recast Burton’s role.

Burton announced his “General Hospital” ouster himself in November 2021. “I wanted you to hear it from me personally,” he said at the time on Instagram. “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.”

But he also left the door open to come back. “Maybe one day if these mandates are lifted, I can return and finish my career as Jason Morgan. That would be an honor.”

After being fired from “General Hospital,” Burton has been appearing on the soap “Days of Our Lives,” which streams on Peacock, but on Jan. 4, he said he had filmed his final episode. Peacock is owned by NBCUniversal, which is the parent company of NBC News.

Earlier this year, during a roundtable conversation with “General Hospital” cast members to commemorate the show’s 60th anniversary, Variety asked about the possibility of Burton returning to the show.

Genie Francis, who’s played the iconic Laura on the soap opera on and off since the late 1970s, said: “I certainly hope so. Because he’s so missed — on screen and off. You’ve gotta admit, one of the nicest human beings who’s ever been with us.”

Fans will see Jason’s return in early 2024.

First appeared on www.nbcnews.com

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