Gina Carano exits the empire
Culture | Disney cracks down on the actress’s cultural dissent
by Megan Basham
Posted 2/11/21, 04:34 pm
Some conservatives vow to boycott Disney+ after executives fired an actress on one of the platform’s most popular shows. Her crime? Sharing a social media post that likened Nazi-era hatred of Jews to modern political divisiveness.
A group of Twitter agitators called for months for the firing of right-leaning actress Gina Carano, who plays a female rebel on the Star Wars show The Mandalorian. They used the hashtag #FireGinaCarano and pointed to social media posts in which she listed her pronouns as beep/bop/boop and made fun of California’s mask requirements. Her detractors achieved their goal on Wednesday when Lucasfilm, which produces the Star Wars franchise, announced that it no longer employed Carano and had no plans to work with her in the future.
In a statement released Wednesday night, a Lucasfilm spokesperson called Carano’s posts “abhorrent and unacceptable.” The actress’s talent agency, UTA, also dropped her. The day before, she shared an image of a statement, which she did not write, that said, “Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors … even by children. Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?” The post no longer exists; it’s unclear whether Carano deleted it or it expired.
Many conservatives on Twitter accused Disney, Lucasfilm’s parent company, of hypocrisy in firing Carano but continuing to work with the Chinese government despite its genocide against Uyghurs in the Xinjiang province. They also lambasted other controversial concessions the company has made to appeal to audiences in foreign markets.
“Not okay at Disney+: making overwrought Holocaust comparisons on social media. Totally okay at Disney+: working with governments shipping people to concentration camps where women are forcibly sterilized,” Ben Shapiro tweeted. He also highlighted jokes Guardian of the Galaxy director James Gunn made about rape and pedophilia. Disney initially fired Gunn when his prior comments resurfaced but hired him back to direct the forthcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after cast members came to his defense and he publicly apologized. So far, Carano’s former Mandalorian cast mates have not commented on Lucasfilm’s decision to fire her.
British radio host and anti-extremism activist Maajid Nawaz pointed out that the company minimized or removed the images of minority actors in the Chinese poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “Disney whitewashed John Boyega’s Star Wars character out of their Chinese market poster, to ‘please’ the market,” he said. “Woke corporates are not your friend.”
In reaction to Carano’s firing, many conservatives pushed for subscribers to drop the streaming service that carries The Mandalorian, posting screenshots of their cancellation notices and sending the hashtag #cancelDisneyplus to the top of Twitter’s trending board. The series is largely responsible for the immediate success Disney+ has achieved since its launch in November 2019.
Carano isn’t the only Mandalorian cast member to liken current political situations in the United States to Nazi Germany. In June 2018, Pedro Pascal, who plays the title character, posted an image of Jewish victims in a concentration camp alongside pictures of children detained at the U.S. southern border with the hashtag #ThisIsAmerica. After the November election, Pascal posted an image that called supporters of President Donald Trump losers and compared them to members of the Confederacy and Nazis. Disney and Lucasfilm have not publicly commented on Pascal’s posts.
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Megan is film and television editor for WORLD and co-host for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and author of Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman's Guide to Having It All. Megan resides with her husband, Brian Basham, and their two daughters in Charlotte, N.C. Follow her on Twitter on @megbasham.