A star actor from the long-running ABC soap opera General Hospital has returned to the show after he was fired for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine in 2021.
Steve Burton — who made his General Hospital debut in 1991 — was fired after refusing to comply with the show’s vaccine mandate in 2021. “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,” the actor said in a video statement at the time. “Unfortunately, ‘General Hospital’ has let me go because of the vaccine mandate.”
On Thursday, ABC aired a special titled “General Hospital: 60 Years of Stars & Storytelling.” As dramatic music played, Burton appeared next to co-stars Kelly Monaco and Lauren Wright before opening a door and walking through.
“Happy anniversary, ‘General Hospital.’ Stay tuned — big things coming to Port Charles,” the actor said.
Burton most recently appeared as a main character on another long-running soap opera, Days Of Our Lives. He will be leaving that show to reprise his role as Jason Morgan on General Hospital. He first debuted on the show in 1991 and stayed until 2012. After a brief absence, he again joined the cast in 2017 and remained with the show until his firing in 2021.
In an interview with Deadline last July, Burton described his exit from the show as a difficult pill to swallow. “That’s just the way it is,” he said. “I’ll aways be grateful for my time there. It was my family for so long. I grew up there and the fans have always been awesome to me.”
Three weeks before Burton was let go, General Hospital co-star Ingo Rademacher was fired for criticizing the network’s vaccine mandates. He later sued ABC for religious discrimination.