The Controversy Surrounding General Hospital Star Ingo Rademacher Explained

Athletes might be taking center stage lately when it comes to the anti-vax movement, but they're certainly not the only ones who've been rallying against vaccine mandates at work. The Guinness World Record's longest-running soap opera "General Hospital" recently announced its decision to let go of longtime cast member Ingo Rademacher after he didn't comply with the show's COVID-19 vaccine mandate, according to The Hollywood Reporter. But that's only part of the issue.

Rademacher has played Jasper "Jax" Jacks on the soap for the last 25 years, as he started on the show in 1996. He's occupied the role on and off over the years, minus a five-year hiatus after they wrote his character off the show in 2011. He told Soap Opera Digest then, "Having been away for really the last five years, I do kind of look back and go, 'Yeah, I could have been nicer.'" It seems people would agree with that statement now given his recent behavior.

Rademacher, who says he's not necessarily anti-vaccine so much as anti-vaccine mandate, came under fire for his stance in mid-August when cast member Nancy Lee Grahn tweeted her concern about working with "unmasked, unvaccinated actors," and another castmate Steve Burton tested positive for the virus. The hashtag #FireIngo quickly spread, and Rademacher made things worse for himself by doubling down and calling his fans "bigots" and "morons." He has simply made things worse for himself since then, adding transphobia to his list of questionable comments, all leading to his ouster at GH.

Ingo Rademacher also shared an offensive meme

As problematic as Ingo Rademacher's comments on vaccine mandates, the COVID-19 vaccine itself, and his fans may be, there's yet another reason the Australian actor is no longer at "General Hospital." Rademacher is also being called out — including by some of his castmates — for sharing a horribly transphobic, offensive meme online.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rademacher shared a post to his Instagram Stories that read, "[W]elcome to ClownTown," and called Biden-appointed assistant secretary of health Rachel Levine a "dude" and Winsome Sears, the first Black woman to serve as lieutenant governor of Virginia, "a white supremacist." Rademacher's transgender co-star, Cassandra James, called him out, tweeting, "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 also pointed out that "[m]isgendering trans folks is violence."

Rademacher doubled down (again) with his best "but my best friend is Black" defense in an Instagram video. While he apologized for not crossing out the word "dude" in the post (as if that were the only problem), he also apologized to James, saying, "I think you're an absolute talent and you're very beautiful as well. I don't think a transphobic man would say that." He also told a story about how woke he was when his 3-year-old son wanted to dress as a Disney princess: "I don't think a transphobic dad would buy his son a Disney princess dress."