Burton informed his 336,000 Twitter followers, “I know there’s been a lot of rumours and suspicions about me and General Hospital, and I wanted you to hear it from me directly.” “Unfortunately, due to the vaccination obligation, General Hospital has released me.” I applied for medical and religious exemptions, but both were refused, which is disappointing. But, to me, this is also about personal liberty.”
Steve Burton, who played moody Final Fantasy hero Cloud Strife, was recently dismissed from his long-running role on General Hospital after refusing to comply with the serial opera’s vaccination mandate, according to the actor’s Instagram account (h/t Variety).
Burton joined the cast of General Hospital in 1991, where he would win several Daytime Emmy and Soap Opera Digest awards for his portrayal of rage-fueled amnesiac Jason Morgan. He left the show in 2012 after choosing not to renew his contract with ABC, spending four years on CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless, before returning to General Hospital in 2017.
A previous version of this story mentioned that Kotaku reached out to a publicist we believed to be involved with Steve Burton. Since then, we have learned that is not the case, and as such have since contacted Burton directly about this situation.
Burton’s last appearance as Cloud came in the 2018 Dissidia Final Fantasy NT fighting game, as Square Enix would cast newcomer Cody Christian to play Cloud in 2020’s Final Fantasy VII Remake. Sounds like the Japanese developer dodged a bullet with that one.
During that time, Burton also made a name for himself as the exclusive English voice actor for Final Fantasy VII protagonist Cloud Strife. He first took on the role in 2002’s Kingdom Hearts, eventually voicing the Buster Sword-wielding SOLDIER for several sequels and spin-offs in both the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts franchises, including the Final Fantasy VII follow-up movie Advent Children.