Ingo Rademacher Sues ABC Following His Exit from 'General Hospital' Over Vaccine Mandate

Ingo Rademacher separated from General Hospital in November because he declined to comply with the production's vaccine mandate

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty

Former General Hospital actor Ingo Rademacher is suing ABC over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

After separating from the show in November for refusing to comply with the production's mandate, Rademacher called it "blatantly unlawful" in court documents filed in Los Angeles on Monday and obtained by PEOPLE.

"ABC does not have the authority to force a medical treatment to its employees against their will," the lawsuit states. "These actions constitute religious discrimination and violate Mr. Rademacher's rights under state and federal law."

According to the documents, Rademacher sent an email to Disney's HR department in October that argued he was "entitled to a religious exemption against mandatory vaccination for COVID-19 on the basis of my deeply and sincerely held moral belief that my body is endowed by my creator with natural processes to protect me and that its natural integrity cannot ethically be violated by the administration of artificially created copies of genetic material, foreign to nature and experimental."

The suit says he was then asked to participate in an interview with an HR lawyer about his religious exemption, which he likened to a "cross-examination." Following the interview, his request was denied and his contract was terminated, the documents state.

A spokesperson for ABC was not immediately available to comment on the matter.

In a statement to PEOPLE, Rademacher's lawyer, Scott Street of JW Howard Attorneys, says, "This case is about freedom, including freedom of religion and the right to privacy that all Californians have under our state constitution. Cases decided a hundred years ago don't change that. The world has evolved since then. The law has evolved since then. We look forward to litigating those issues in court."

Rademacher played Jasper "Jax" Jacks on and off for 25 years. He addressed his exit from the show in a video posted to Instagram last week.

"I was on the show for 25 years. They're like my family, a lot of the people there and I was really hoping that I could play Jax for another 10 or 25 years," he said, adding that his exit from the show "is still something that I'm trying to process."

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Addressing the vaccine mandate, he continued: "I think it should be a choice. If you want to go get the vaccine, get the vaccine. If you think it's going to protect you, that's great. But you should be able to make that choice. I think we all need to fight this because I don't agree with vaccine mandates. Obviously, you already know that I do not agree with corporations ever, ever being able to mandate a vaccine to keep your job, to keep your livelihood...that's coercion, and that is not freedom of choice at all. So, I'm really frustrated with what's going on in this world right now."

Rademacher isn't the only actor to exit General Hospital over the mandate. In late November, Steve Burton was also let go from the daytime soap opera for refusing to comply.

Steve Burton General Hospital
Todd Wawrychuk via Getty

General Hospital's vaccine mandate for Zone A, which includes the actors and all crew who are present on set when the actors aren't wearing masks, went into effect on Nov. 1. Last month, star Nancy Lee Grahn expressed her excitement at the news.

"I am very proud to work on the ONLY Daytime Soap that has required that all performers, staff and crew be vaccinated," the actress wrote on Twitter.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone aged 5 years and older in the U.S. get vaccinated against COVID-19.

A study released by the organization earlier this year found that among people who are fully vaccinated, the risk of COVID-19 infection was reduced by 91 percent. Additionally, the risk of infection among those who were partially vaccinated was 81 percent lower.

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