A California judge has dismissed charges filed against ABC by former General Hospital actor Ingo Rademacher (Jasper "Jax" Jacks), stemming from the network's COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
First, some background on the situation. In 2021, ABC adopted a workplace policy that required all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Though the policy has never been formally or publicly announced by the network, the existence of the policy became known in late 2021 when actors Steve Burton (Jason Morgan) and Rademacher were let go for failing to adhere to the then-undisclosed policy. In separate posts made to their social media accounts, both actors shared that they had applied for exemptions based on religious beliefs. Both actors' requests were denied following a review by ABC.
Rademacher filed a lawsuit in December 2021, alleging that ABC's questioning of the sincerity of his beliefs amounted to religious discrimination. Rademacher also asserted disability discrimination, invasion of privacy, and political retaliation. Additional details of Rademacher's claims can be read here.
In a motion for summary judgment filed December 28, 2022, in Los Angeles, ABC's lawyer Steven Marenberg stated that ABC's vaccine policy was the result of "an extensive deliberative process at Disney," which included a process for evaluating religious and medical exemptions on a case-by-case basis.
"Although Rademacher provided little information to ABC in the interactive process, what limited information he did provide, revealed that his opposition to vaccination was rooted in secular, philosophical/moral beliefs ... to summarize succinctly, at no point did Rademacher mention that his beliefs are based on, related to, or even loosely connected to any religious text or teaching," Marenberg wrote, arguing that Rademacher's objection was more about a lifestyle choice than a religious one.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen Goorvitch agreed with ABC. On Monday, Goorvitch granted a summary judgment agreeing with ABC.
The ruling read, "The Motion for Summary Adjudication filed by Ingo Rademacher on 12/23/2022 is Denied." A more detailed ruling from Goorvitch has yet to be issued.
Rademacher was represented by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a vocal vaccine skeptic who announced he would seek the Democratic nomination for President in 2024.
Studios have since backed away from blanket vaccine mandates. In November, Disney moved away from a uniform policy. Netflix and Paramount have announced similar changes.
What are your thoughts on the dismissal of Ingo Rademacher's lawsuit? With the matter resolved, would you like to see Jax back in Port Charles -- even if the role were recast? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.