‘General Hospital’ star says show fired him for anti-vaccination views

Written by Staff Writer at CNN

Steve Burton, one of the longest-serving stars of the ABC soap opera “General Hospital,” says he was asked to leave the show because he wouldn’t follow the show’s lead on vaccinations.

Burton is a former doctor and has publicly raised concerns about childhood vaccines.

Speaking on HuffPost Live, he explained the reasoning behind his dispute with the show, which he says forced him to choose between his family and his job.

“It wasn’t until this last fall that we were talking about more important things such as education, trying to have a better choice as to what our kids are gonna be exposed to,” Burton said.

Burton said he recently decided to vaccinate his children, he said, “because I know it’s the right thing to do.”

“I’m no scientist and neither am I gonna be a doctor,” he added. “I know my experiences. I know how I chose to raise my kids and I would be surprised if there was no link between vaccines and autism.”

The show’s host Cheri Jacobus asked why it took so long for the show to act upon his concerns.

“I didn’t think that I could come out and talk about this as well and as much as I can without some kind of ramifications,” Burton said. “And since I didn’t do what the show asked me to do, I was told, ‘You’re off the show.’”

But he said the show started “expressing a new… interest” in him around this time.

“That’s when I was told, ‘You know, we’re gonna let you stay in this job, but you just may not be at ‘General Hospital,’” he said.

The statement from ABC does not explicitly state that he was asked to leave due to his vaccination stance.

In a statement to CNN, “General Hospital” said that “we appreciate Steve’s decades of dedication and investment in ‘General Hospital.’ We thank him for all his hard work and his many contributions.”

“While Steve’s past opinions regarding vaccinations do not align with the network’s current stance, we wish him nothing but the best.”

ABC also said, “the on-set health and safety of our actors is paramount and vaccination requests are taken seriously. For this reason, we have always respected Steve’s decision to not immunize his children.”

Burton posted a message to his Facebook last year thanking those who offered their support.

“I know this will make all of you very unhappy,” he wrote. “But please know that this has been a very emotionally draining and frustrating period for me personally.”

“Many of you have reached out from all over the world with kind words of support and affection, and I just wanted to let you know that I love you all,” he added.

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