Cloud Strife Voice Actor Fired From Soap Opera For Refusing Covid-19 Vaccination

Steve Burton, who previously voiced brooding Final Fantasy hero Cloud Strife, was recently fired from his long-standing role on General Hospital after refusing to comply with the soap opera’s vaccine mandate, the actor announced via Instagram (h/t Variety).

“I know there’s been a lot of rumors and speculations about me and General Hospital, and I wanted you to hear it from me personally,” Burton told his 336,000 followers. “Unfortunately, General Hospital has let me go because of the vaccine mandate. I did apply for my medical and religious exemptions, and both of those were denied, which hurts. But this is also about personal freedom to me.”
Update 11/24/2021 7:20 p.m. ET: 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 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.
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.

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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.
Got my booster on Monday! Took less than 20 mins. I had to nap a bunch yesterday but now feel fine. It’s almost like keeping up with vaccines is NOT A HARD THING AT ALL TO JUST FUCKING DO in order to protect others and reduce the transmission numbers as a whole.
I am baffled at how it is “brave” or “part of muh freedoms” to not do so. I get how mandates for anything can suck, but people aren’t equipped to manage epidemics alone. We sometimes need policies (including workplace policies AKA THE FREE MARKET doing its thing) to nudge us in the right direction. Just like how there are policies that you can’t throw your trash in the yard or drive wherever you want. But I guess people who go driving on sidewalks and who throw their trash in their neighbor’s yard are just really brave and love freedom!

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