General Hospital vet Antonio Sabato Jr. is speaking out after his character John “Jagger” Cates was recast in an episode of the ABC soap that aired on Friday. The role is now being played by Adam J. Harrington.
In a since-deleted Instagram video that was reviewed and transcribed by Michael Fairman, the actor explained to the public why he hasn’t been invited to return to the daytime drama.
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“I’ve never been asked to come back on General Hospital for 30 years,” Sabato revealed, according to Fairman. “The producers at General Hospital, ABC and Disney, they know where to find me. They know where I am. The fans always ask me every single day, ‘Are you going back to General Hospital?'”
He also pointed out that the new Jagger goes by “John” instead of his nickname, because “they know that the character’s only been played by me ’cause it’s part of who I am. It’s my life.”
In his video, Sabato reportedly alluded to the recast being retaliation for his political beliefs: “So, the truth and the fact of the matter is people say, well, ‘you ruin your career because you voted for this or political or this and that,’” he said. “I shouldn’t be hired on my political views. I should be hired on my merit, on my acting abilities because you know, that works.”
The actor has been a staunch supporter of the Republican Party and Donald Trump for years, having spoken at the 2016 Republican National Convention, which notably drew criticism from One Life to Live’s Tuc Watkins. After the 2020 election, he claimed he was “blacklisted,” telling our sister site Variety that he couldn’t land any new roles because of backlash to his beliefs.
Sabato originated the role of Jagger on GH in 1992 and stayed on until 1994. After his exit from the ABC soap, he played Jude Trisk on Hilton Head Island, Dante Damiano on The Bold and the Beautiful and appeared in Scrubs, The Help, Charmed, Tribe and more. His upcoming credits include Snow White and Grace By Night.
TVLine has reached out to ABC for comment.
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