Inside Ingo Rademacher's Controversial General Hospital Exit

When the news broke that "General Hospital" star Ingo Rademacher was off the show and that his last airdate would be Nov. 22, 2021, controversy surrounded both the actor and his exit (via People). 

Rademacher had already been a vocal COVID-19 vaccine critic, often spreading the misinformation that the vaccines do not work on his Instagram page. Many fans wondered what Rademacher would do when Disney, the parent company to ABC, the network that airs "General Hospital," instituted a vaccine mandate, requiring workers and cast members to be vaccinated by Nov. 1.

In August, actress Nancy Lee Grahn, who plays Alexis Davis on the soap, tweeted that she was working with unvaccinated actors. But, in September, she was happy to report that she now worked on a set with a vaccine mandate. "I am very proud to work on the ONLY Daytime Soap that has required that all performers, staff and crew be vaccinated," Grahn tweeted. "@GeneralHospital continues to lead with integrity."

Grahn was also the performer who first announced that Rademacher was off the soap amid even more controversy than just refusing to comply with Disney's mandate.

Ingo Rademacher created controversy before his 'General Hospital' exit

Although the date for "General Hospital" actors to get vaccinated was Nov. 1, 2021, according to TVLine, fans didn't hear that any actor had been let go from the show until a week later, when Ingo Rademacher posted a controversial meme that prompted quick responses from co-stars.

On Nov. 7, Rademacher took to Instagram to speak out against vaccine mandates with a photo of himself proclaiming, "I will stand with you to fight for medical freedom. #medicalfreedom #nomandates #woke #awakening #coersionisnotconsent." But that was considered typical for him as he had already posted a video likening mandates to Nazi Germany over the summer.

However, Rademacher was active on social media that day and also posted a disparaging meme referring to transgender Assistant Health Secretary Rachel Levine as a "dude" (via People). The meme prompted a response from Cassandra James, the only transgender actor on "General Hospital," who plays transgender character Terry Randolph.

He received backlash from a transphobic meme

Cassandra James, who has been playing the hospital's chief of staff, Dr. Terry Randolph, since 2018 (via IMDb), was the first "General Hospital" star to address Ingo Rademacher's offensive meme, tweeting: "I am aware of a transphobic post shared by a fellow General Hospital actor. 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."

Within hours, Nancy Lee Grahn, a 25-year veteran of the soap (via TV Insider), tweeted a response to James and announced that Rademacher was off the show. "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."

After that, other stars tweeted in support of James, including Maura West, who plays Ava Jerome on ABC's last remaining daytime soap. "​​I wholeheartedly support and stand by @cassandrajames_ and the entire LGBTQ community," West tweeted. "I did yesterday. I will tomorrow. I will forever."

Ingo Rademacher posted an apology video and 'General Hospital' vowed trans support

The social media backlash caused by Ingo Rademacher's disparaging meme featuring Assistant Health Secretary Rachel Levine prompted the actor to post an Instagram video in an attempt to apologize while explaining he once allowed his toddler son to wear a dress. 

He then addressed co-star Cassandra James personally, saying: "Cassandra, I apologize to you as well, sincerely. I think you're an absolute talent and you're very beautiful as well. I don't think a transphobic man would say that. I think you're absolutely gorgeous." He also promised to address his status with the show in the future, which he has not yet done, as of this writing.

On Nov. 10, 2021, "General Hospital," which has not yet confirmed Rademacher's exit, officially stated its support for the transgender community with this tweet: "General Hospital stands in solidarity with the trans community."