I spent my Juneteenth embroiled in social media drama that took me on an emotional ride from outrage to satisfied cackling, which escalated to pride and joyfulness, then took a sharp turn to concern and disappointment. It was a whole soap opera plot contained in a few hours — which is appropriate because it was all about a soap opera.

It began with a “General Hospital” fan who has apparently been posting on X for some time her various foul, racist opinions about the LGBTQ community, Democrats and Black soap opera characters. She has particularly targeted GH’s Trina, played by Tabyana Ali, whom she referred to as an “ape.” Grrr. Said fan claimed later to be joking, of course, and was positively shocked when the series’ cast members, showrunner and the show’s official account all blocked her in real time. Delightful karma.

That official account eventually posted a condemnation of the fan, stating that “racism has no place in Port Charles,” the show’s fictional upstate New York setting. “#GH is for everyone.” As a former diehard GH fan, I was so impressed with this declarative anti-racist statement by a network show that I posted that I might have to become a regular Port Charles observer again.

Not so fast, replied a lot of fans, including several local ones, who informed me of a disturbing trend on GH in recent months. The aforementioned Trina, a Black college student who’d been part of what we old folks used to call a supercouple with rich kid Spencer Cassadine (Nicholas Alexander Chavez), has seen her screen time drastically reduced since Spencer apparently died in a February episode. (You know soaps. No one ever stays dead.) The show’s other Black actors have also been relatively AWOL. Shannon Peace, the show’s only Black breakdown writer — responsible for writing the narrative script — was let go in March. So while viewers appreciate the public commitment to equality, they want to see that reflected on the actual show.

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“They put out a statement, and it was good that they did. However, in my opinion, the timing was a little suspect,” said longtime fan Terri Smith of Pikesville. “They are very quick [on social media] to elevate Juneteenth or LGBTQ and Pride, but that doesn’t translate onscreen.”

“The math isn’t mathing,” said Tina Luciano of Rockville, another longtime GH fan who had stepped away from the soap for a while but returned after being “fascinated” by clips of Sprina (the portmanteau for Spencer and Trina). Since Spencer died in the winter and Trina’s appearances reduced, she’s stepped away again. “It’s been a letdown. People are annoyed. Longtime fans like me came back because of them. I don’t think GH has appreciated the gold they had.”

“People want Sprina. They still do!” said Zakiyyah Heard, a Baltimore native now living in Georgia. “They are the story. But they’re never on screen. They do not give them a full storyline.”

Black soap fans like Luciano, Heard and I know what it’s like not to see yourself on screen, and how it’s especially disappointing when you do but then it’s snatched away. Smith noted that just in May, all five of the Black actors on contract for GH “ranked toward the bottom” in terms of the number of episodes in which they appeared. Even on Thursday, when I last spoke to Smith, she noted that while Trina was on that day’s episode, “it was less than a minute. It’s kind of frustrating.” I reached out to ABC for comment and did not hear back.

Smith said the account blocked by the show last week isn’t the only one regularly posting racist content online, but “this account went viral, and now they [’General Hospital’] come out with a statement. I feel they should have done it sooner if it was very important to them.”

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Fans said the show’s issue is more than racial, with the current writing ignoring not only minority characters but so-called legacy ones, who are tied to longtime families like the Quartermaines or the Webbers. Elizabeth Webber (Rebecca Herbst), once a key part of the canvas, is barely on in favor of those like mob boss Sonny (Maurice Bernard), his ex-wife Carly (Maryland native Laura Wright) and rich kid turned mobster Jason (Steve Burton).

“They’re shooting themselves in the foot,” Smith said. “They have these fandoms [who support other characters]. They just don’t care.”

The changing focus is part of the reason I stepped away myself, honestly. I’m sorry it hasn’t changed.

Even though Luciano was riveted when Sprina went on a big adventure in 2023 that involved Spencer’s crazy Uncle Victor (Charles Shaughnessy) — following in the family tradition of ruining the world — “We thought they were about to come back to Port Charles and be everything. But … crickets,” she said. “We could see there would be nonsense.”

When the fans speak up, they want the show to know they’re not “just crazy ladies or a few men who don’t understand entertainment or the making of a TV show, and we’re just wah wah wah complaining. It’s a very real issue,” she said. “If we’re offering the show critiques and criticism, it’s coming from a real place. We do actually love the show. But for the last year, I don’t know what we’re looking at.”

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All the local fans I talked to are on a break from GH at the moment, though they’re looking forward to the 2025 premiere of the CBS new soap “The Gates,” featuring a lead Black family. Smith only tunes into her former favorite if she knows from previews that Elizabeth or Trina will be on and just watches those scenes. (My late husband Scott and I used to call those “short soap” days, when we’d fast-forward our least favorite characters and sometimes be left with 12 minutes.)

As viewers, they’re not coming back full-time until they believe the show’s energy onscreen matches that strong social media statement — “I would come back if they make their writing match today’s society,” Luciano said.

“I only watch on Trina days,” Heard said. “I don’t want to give them eyeballs until the character of Trina can stand on her own. The only thing they can do is a full-fledged storyline.”

I agree. I appreciate the anti-racist statement, and I’m still giggling that the now-blocked fan and her nasty, hateful comments got her feelings hurt by the show she’s made her personality. But I’m not inclined to recommit to the series myself until that diversity is on my TV.