Ingo Rademacher, Jax on 'General Hospital,' exits soap after protesting vaccine mandate
After 25 years in his leading role of Jasper "Jax" Jacks on ABC's "General Hospital," Ingo Rademacher is leaving the medical drama.
Rademacher, 50, is exiting the show because he refused to comply with the production's vaccine mandate, USA TODAY confirms. Fans of the long-running ABC show will see the last of Rademacher's "Jax" in an episode scheduled to air Nov. 22. The Hollywood Reporter was first to report news of Rademacher's departure.
USA TODAY has reached out to reps for Rademacher for further comment.
Rademacher addressed his departure in an Instagram video Monday, saying he "will comment on that later."
"I will get back in touch with everybody and fill you guys on what's happening when I can," he said as part of a longer message Monday.
Rademacher has played the character "Jax" on "General Hospital" since 1996. He has been a regular on the daytime medical drama for 25 of its 59 seasons and has appeared in a total of 1,312 episodes. In 1996, he also starred in the TV movie "General Hospital: Twist of Fate."
The actor's sudden departure also comes amid backlash to transphobic comments and anti-vax beliefs Rademacher shared online over the weekend.
On Sunday, Rademacher shared a photo of himself on Instagram with the caption: "I will stand with you to fight for medical freedom," adding the hashtags #medicalfreedom and #coersionnotconsent." In August, the "General Hospital" actor also shared anti-vax sentiments in a 3-minute Instagram video, spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine and CDC guidelines.
Over the weekend Rademacher also shared a transphobic meme mocking and misgendering Dr. Rachel Levine, who was recently sworn in as the nation's first openly transgender four-star officer across any of the eight uniformed services, calling Levine a "dude."
Rademacher addressed the now-deleted transphobic social media post in his Instagram video on Monday saying "I don't think either that it's okay to call a transgender an empowered woman because where does that leave women?"
He also directly apologized to "General Hospital" co-star Cassandra James, who identifies as a trans woman, and called her an "absolute talent."
James, who plays Terry Randolph on the show, criticized Rademacher on Twitter Sunday writing that she was "aware of a transphobic post shared by a fellow General Hospital actor."
"Shame on you," she wrote. "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."
Nancy Lee Grahn, who plays Alexis Davis on "General Hospital," shared her support for James online Sunday and revealed that Rademacher was "mercifully no longer a part 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," she wrote.
In October, Grahn posted on Twitter that she was "very proud" to work on the "ONLY Daytime Soap that has required that all performers, staff and crew be vaccinated."
"General Hospital" continues to "lead with integrity," she wrote.