General Hospital has cut ties with Ingo Rademacher (Jasper "Jax" Jacks). Though the ABC soap has not commented on the actor's status, show sources confirm to Soap Central that the actor was let go after he declined to comply with General Hospital's COVID-19 vaccine policy.
Rademacher's status with the ABC soap became public over the weekend when Rademacher opted to share a transphobic meme to his 130,000-plus Instagram followers. Murmurs of Rademacher's firing, however, began circling weeks ago, after GH cast member Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis) revealed on Twitter that the ABC soap opera was the only daytime series that would begin requiring all of its employees to show proof that they had received the COVID vaccine.
Though ABC has declined to comment, that policy reportedly took effect on November 1.
.@GeneralHospital still remains ONLY Daytime Serial to mandate vaccines. Kudos to the leadership of @valentinifrank @ABCNetwork & @DisneyStudios. Smart leaders listen to science & protect their employees. As of Nov 1st entry to #gh requires proper vaccine card. No exceptions. https://t.co/Yak3qonX3x— Nancy Lee Grahn (@NancyLeeGrahn) November 4, 2021
In a series of social media posts beginning earlier this year, Rademacher has repeatedly expressed his opposition to vaccine mandates and has made statements questioning the safety of vaccines.
Things came to a head in August when Rademacher published several Instagram posts in support of a "No Vaccine Passport Rally" -- a decision which created a social media storm. In the post, Rademacher stated that vaccines should not be mandated because "getting vaccinated does not stop you from spreading the virus."
The CDC acknowledges that, like other vaccines, [the COVID-19 vaccines] are not 100% effective. The CDC points out that "when fully vaccinated people develop symptoms, they tend to be less severe symptoms than in unvaccinated people."
Some fans called for Rademacher to be fired over his stance. Rademacher responded by lashing out at the "bigots," "morons," "dictators," and "horrible, horrible" people calling for his ouster.
As of November 1, SAG-AFTRA, the union representing approximately 160,000 film and television actors, journalists, recording artists, and other media professionals worldwide, does not have a national policy on vaccine requirements. Instead, the decision for vaccine mandates is left up to individual producers.
According to Return to Work agreement posted on the SAG-AFTRA web site, "Producers that wish to implement mandatory vaccination policies are encouraged to make and announce that decision as soon as possible" so that actors have time to get vaccinated in order to comply with the mandate. The web site also states that the Return To Work Agreement "does not empower employees to refuse to work with unvaccinated individuals." Additionally, producers are only permitted to share an individual's vaccination status "to those with a need to know."
It is presumably that need-to-know basis that has kept ABC from commenting on its COVID vaccination policy.
Over the weekend, however, Rademacher created another firestorm by reposting a transphobic Instagram post about U.S. assistant secretary for health, Dr. Rachel Levine. The post called Levine, the first transgender person to become a four-star officer in the U.S. uniformed services, a "dude."
Soap Central has chosen not to republish the post.
The post, however, received immediate pushback from one of Rademacher's General Hospital castmates -- trans actor Cassandra James (Dr. Terry Randolph).
"I am aware of a transphobic post shared by a fellow General Hospital actor," tweeted James without mentioning the actor by name. "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."
James added that "[m]isgendering trans folks is violence." She also thanked fans "for always holding us to a high standard, for calling out transphobia and violence."
Misgendering is defined as intentionally -- or unintentionally -- referring to a person or using language to describe a person that doesn't align with that person's affirmed gender.
Several hours after James shared her comments, Grahn voiced her support for James and the trans community, stating that "Transphobia and misgendering are disgusting and should be unacceptable in any industry, including soaps/acting."
Grahn, however, chose to identify the actor who made the statements as Rademacher and shared that he was "mercifully no longer a part of the [General Hospital] cast."
The fellow actor, #IngoRademacher, is mercifully no longer a part of the #gh cast. Transphobia & misgendering are disgusting & should be unacceptable in any industry, including soaps/acting. I stand with my costar, @cassandrajames_, & the trans community. https://t.co/pjj6FzEncg— Nancy Lee Grahn (@NancyLeeGrahn) November 8, 2021
Soap Central reviewed the social media feeds of current General Hospital cast members and did not find any other posts made over the weekend that involved the misgendering of transpersons.
Laura Wright (Carly Corinthos) also took to Twitter to address the tweet, saying "I am aware of the transphobic post shared by a GH member [and] I would like to start by saying I am disgusted by this action. Misgendering trans individuals is dangerous & I do not support this behavior. I stand in support of all trans folks & echo the words of Cassandra James. Wright also added that As a member of the GH cast I want everyone in the trans community to know we love you and we support you.
I am aware of the transphobic post shared by a GH member & I would like to start by saying I am disgusted by this action. Misgendering trans individuals is dangerous & I do not support this behavior. I stand in support of all trans folks & echo the words of @cassandrajames_— Laura Wright (@lldubs) November 8, 2021
On Monday, Rademacher returned to social media to offer what he said was an apology "for not crossing out 'dude' and putting 'transgender'" in his Instagram post. The actor claimed his post was intended to show the "hypocrisy of the left-wing media" for labeling Virginia's Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears, a Black woman, as a "white supremacist." Rademacher said that he took offense to Levine being called an "empowering woman" because he feels it diminishes the struggle women have had to get on "a level playing field with men."
Rademacher stated that he "wouldnt refer to a transgender person as a 'dude' if they wanted to be called 'a she.'"
"Cassandra, I apologize to you sincerely. I think you're an absolute talent, and you're very beautiful, as well," Rademacher said in the video. "I don't think a transphobic man would say that. I think you're absolutely gorgeous."
Rademacher, who vehemently denies in his posting that he is transphobic, concluded his video message with a story of how when his son Pohaku was young, he wanted to wear "a Disney princess dress." Rademacher shared that even though he and his wife explained to the child that "girls wear dresses," Pohaku still wanted to wear the dress because he "wanted to look pretty."
While clothing has long been associated with gender stereotypes, choosing to wear an article of clothing typically associated with another gender is not indicative of an individual's gender identity.
In the Instagram video posted Monday afternoon, Rademacher indicated that he would soon be making a statement about his General Hospital status.
Rademacher -- who originated the role of GH's Jax in 1996 and has been playing the character on-again, off-again since then -- is said to be exploring legal action against General Hospital and ABC for his dismissal. It is unclear if the soap opera plans to recast the role of Jax or keep the character off the canvas for the time being. Deadline, meanwhile, reports that Rademacher is slated to make his final appearance on GH on November 22.
What are your thoughts on Rademacher's initial post and his explanation of why he shared it on his social media account? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.