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Ingo Rademacher's Controversy On General Hospital Explained

"General Hospital" actor Ingo Rademacher became a huge fan favorite when he took on the role of Australian tycoon Jasper "Jax" Jacks on the ABC soap in 1996. Jax carved out a name for himself on the soap with his suave, dashing manner. His memorable romantic pairings with Brenda Barrett (Vanessa Marcil) and Carly Corinthos (Laura Wright) entertained audiences for years, and his rivalry with mobster Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard) was a legendary and memorable conflict. Jax also had family on the show — over time, fans were introduced to his father John Jacks (Peter Renaday), his mother "Lady" Jane Jacks (Barbara Tarbuck), and his nefarious brother Jerry Jacks (Julian Stone/Sebastian Roche). He has a daughter, Josslyn "Joss" Jacks (Eden McCoy) with Carly.

But after years of entertaining fans, Rademacher recently left "GH," as did Jax. His departure, unlike previous breaks from the series, took place under a cloud of controversy that made some pretty big headlines. If you want to know why Rademacher left the soap opera, look no further — here's the entire situation explained from start to finish.

The actor's anti-vaccination stance caused a stir

Per Deadline, rumbles of discontent concerning Ingo Rademacher's anti-vaccination status began to surface in late August 2021. That was when Steve Burton, who has long played Jason Morgan on "General Hospital," tested positive for COVID-19, as announced via an Instagram post. Burton declared in the video that he had been exposed at work. Just before the actor publicly announced his diagnosis, Nancy Lee Grahn, who portrays Alexis Davis on the show, tweeted, "I work on a set with unmasked, unvaccinated actors, because my union thus far @sagaftra has allowed this. Full stop." 

Rademacher was placed in the line of fire due to his habit of continuously reposting anti-vaccine images to his Instagram account. When he promoted a then-upcoming "No Vaccine Passport Rally" in his Instagram stories, "GH" fans began to trend the hashtag #FireIngo on Twitter. According to Deadline, the actor replied by calling these fans "morons" and "bigots" in another Instagram video and proceeded to spread further disinformation about COVID vaccination. 

Per Variety, all personnel, crew, and actors who work in "Zone A" — on the set of the soap and around actors who must work unmasked during their scenes — had to be vaccinated by November 1. Rademacher was among the actors who apparently refused to comply with this mandate and was summarily dismissed from the soap.

He was later accused of transphobia

On November 8, the world learned that Ingo Rademacher had been fired after he reposted a tweet from conservative podcaster Allie Beth Stuckey as part of an Instagram story. In the tweet, Stuckey compared the politics of Virginia Lieutenant Governor-Elect Winsome Sears to those of trans politician Rachel Levine, the U.S. assistant secretary for health. Stuckey misgendered Levine in the course of the tweet, and Rademacher attached the following statement to his repost, "Always search for the truth and be open to the fact it might come from a source you might not always agree with."

Rademacher was subsequently accused of transphobia by his co-star, trans actress Cassandra James, in two tweets that stressed there is "some serious unlearning and education to do." The show itself affirmed their support of James and of the transgender community in the aftermath (per Deadline), and Grahn tweeted that "The fellow actor, #IngoRademacher, is mercifully no longer a part of the #gh cast." ABC later confirmed that Rademacher had been let go from the series for refusing to comply with the vaccine mandate (per Yahoo! News).

Rademacher later apologized directly to James for the Instagram post in a video, where he also expressed his regret for failing to edit the word "dude" out of Stuckey's post. Still, he added, "I don't think it's okay to call a transgender an empowered woman because where does that leave women?"

The actor's final episodes aired on November 22

"General Hospital" aired Ingo Rademacher's final scenes on November 22 (per Deadline). During those last moments, Jax informs Carly that he is headed out of town to attend to business matters, leaving the door open for the character to return with a recast actor or even Rademacher coming back to the part. "I'm kind of on the outs with everyone in Port Charles right now," the character muses before leaving, entrusting Joss to her mother's care. 

Perhaps this was a knowing wink to an audience that had been tracking the controversy, or perhaps it was a simple statement about how many bridges Jax had burned in an attempt at protecting Joss. Either way, Jax was soon gone.

With Rademacher officially off-screen, "General Hospital" must now contend with recasting or writing out another popular character — Steve Burton's Jason Morgan, after Burton announced that he, too, had been fired for refusing to comply with ABC's vaccine mandate on November 23.