Muse Reporting on the arts and culture

Gina Carano, rebel leader

Culture | The former Disney actress becomes a champion of cultural resistance
by Megan Basham
Posted 2/16/21, 02:30 pm

Actress Gina Carano is shaking the Disney dust off her feet. After Lucasfilm fired her from its popular Star Wars series The Mandalorian, the former MMA fighter quickly landed a new gig producing and starring in an upcoming film for conservative media company The Daily Wire.

A group of Twitter agitators had called on Lucasfilm, which is owned by Disney, to part ways with Carano for months over her right-leaning social media posts, which included listing her pronouns as “beep/bop/boop”—a nod to the robots of Star Wars—and making fun of California’s mask requirements. Her detractors achieved their goal last week after Carano shared this TikTok post, written by another user: “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?”

In a statement announcing the company no longer employed Carano, Lucasfilm called the comments “abhorrent and unacceptable” and claimed the actress had denigrated people “based on their cultural and religious identities.” Carano’s talent agency, UTA, also dropped her.

Many conservatives, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, took to Twitter to express outrage at Disney’s decision. Some accused the company of hypocrisy in firing Carano but continuing to work with the Chinese government despite its genocide against Uyghurs in the Xinjiang province. Others pointed out Lucasfilm took no action against Mandalorian star Pedro Pascal, who has also shared social media posts that compare modern American politics to Nazism, though from a left-wing perspective. The same day Lucasfilm made its announcement, the hashtag #cancelDisneyplus took over the top slot on Twitter’s trending board.

Some liberals also defended Carano. New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait, who is Jewish, penned a piece accusing Disney of blacklisting her. Chait wrote he did not find Carano’s post “especially insightful. But overheated comparisons to Nazi Germany are quite common, and, more to the point, not anti-Semitic. There is no hint anywhere in the post of sympathy for Nazis or blame for their victims.”

Chait also chided his fellow journalists for failing to scrutinize the actions of Disney or of Carano’s talent agency. He added that most mainstream reporting framed Carano’s posts “as though they were a series of petty crimes, the punishment of which is inevitable and self-evidently justified.” MSNBC host Chris Hayes tweeted of Chait’s essay, “I’ve got my quibbles here and there, but basically agree with this.”

Jewish writer Bari Weiss, herself recently pushed out of The New York Times by coworkers who found her views too moderate, reached out to Carano directly. She came away from their conversation convinced the actress hadn’t intended to minimize Nazi crimes or diminish the Jewish community’s singular experience. “I see the image she shared as historically and politically uncomprehending,” Weiss wrote on the independent newsletter platform Substack, “but I do not feel that it denigrates Jews qua Jews.”

Daily Wire cofounder Ben Shapiro, an Orthodox Jew, clearly must have felt the same. During the 2016 election, more anti-Semitic tweets targeted Shapiro than any other journalist, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Yet the day after Disney sacked Carano, Shapiro told the entertainment news site Deadline she was “an incredible talent dumped by Disney and Lucasfilm for offending the authoritarian Hollywood Left.” The company even promoted the deal by tweeting, “Become a DW member today with promo code GINA for 25% off, and join the cultural resistance.”

Of course, there’s likely another reason The Daily Wire leapt so quickly to secure a deal with Carano: She’s a bona fide star who comes with a large, devoted fan base, something the company didn’t have with its first foray into the entertainment industry last month, the gritty action film Run Hide Fight.

The Mandalorian played a major role in the success of Disney+ since it launched in November 2019. Carano’s Cara Dune character, written especially for her by creator Jon Favreau, was particularly popular. The black-clad Cara Dune action figure released in 2020 quickly sold out. Toymaker Hasbro was gearing up for another production run before Carano’s cancellation.

Carano seems equally grateful to have found a place with the conservative outlet. “I cried out and my prayer was answered,” she told Deadline. “I am sending out a direct message of hope to everyone living in fear of cancellation by the totalitarian mob … they can’t cancel us if we don’t let them.”

In making the announcement, Shapiro promised the company’s new entertainment division would provide a home for creators like Carano who “refuse to bow to the mob.”

“We’re eager to bring Gina’s talent to Americans who love her,” he said, “and we’re just as eager to show Hollywood that if they want to keep canceling those who think differently, they’ll just be helping us build the X-wing to take down their Death Star.”


Read more Muse Sign up for the Muse email
Megan Basham

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.

Read more from this writer

Comments

You must be a WORLD Member and logged in to the website to comment.
  • OldMike
    Posted: Tue, 02/16/2021 09:19 pm

    Another of Disney's hypocritical actions was that they told the State of Georgia in 2019 that they "might find it difficult" to bring film-making (and dollars) to Georgia, because Georgia was considering some abortion restrictions.  Yet they have had no problem filming in the very same Chinese Province, Xinjiang, where the Uighurs are being locked into "re-education" camps, used for forced labor, and according to some accounts, undergoing forced abortions and harvesting of organs for transplant.  After the completion of filming of Mulan in China, Disney even issued praise for the very Chinese agencies which oversee the Uighurs' "re-education," for their assistance in smoothing the process.

    I would say, "Cancel Disney" for their toadying to totalitarianism, as well as to the abortion lobby.

  • Laura W
    Posted: Wed, 02/17/2021 07:44 am

    Too bad, really. Just when I thought there might be a chance of decent new Star Wars content coming out. Even if the show manages to go on without her, I'm not sure I can enjoy watching it anymore. I guess Hollywood isn't as into strong outspoken women as they'd like us to believe. Oh, and let's see what kind of records the price for that discontinued figure reaches.

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Wed, 02/17/2021 03:25 pm

    This is why I'm looking over my shoulder these days. Gina's a big star so she has options. Others do not. There are many people that maintain their silence, afraid to express their opinions, fearing the woke Leftist mob will cancel their job, cancel their reputation, cancel their life.

    This is what cultural Marxism looks like. Just wait until the real thing arrives.

  • not silent
    Posted: Thu, 02/18/2021 03:14 pm

    There are a lot of things today that are concerning.  I read a memoir by a lady who lived during the Cultural Revolution in China. During that time, the Communists would have these things called "Struggle meetings": the targeted individual would be brought to a room full of people who had been hastily gathered, there would be posters on the walls denouncing them, everyone in the room would be screaming at them (one had to look 'revolutionary" enough), and they would be forced to sit on a stool with a dunce cap for hours unti they agreed to write out a "confession" of their crimes.  (They didn't always know what their crimes WERE; but, once they confessed to whatever they thought would satisfy the mob, they would be arrested and put in prison until their case was "clarified." It took YEARS for the author of the book, whose "crime" was that her husband worked for an American company. Incidentally, the author refused to sign a confession because she knew it would not save her from prison and might haunt her later.)  As soon as Communist Party officials left a struggle meeting, people who had been screaming moments before would fall completely silent; and everyone would file out without speaking or meeting anyone else's gaze lest they reveal feelings that were not "revolutionary" enough.  People had to carry around Mao's Red Book of Quotations and literally quote from it, and his words were viewed almost as if spoken by God.

    We aren't there yet, but sometimes I feel like I am expected to quote from someone's "book of quotations" instead of being allowed to think for myself.  Several years ago, a commenter online said they had looked over five years of my posts and that they showed I had an unpopular agenda.   I challenged them to prove it, and they tried dredging up a few old posts; but it ultimately backfired on them.  As a parting shot, they demanded I agree with a certain statement; and I asked if I had to repeat from Mao's Book of Quotations or if I was allowed to think for myself and express things my way!   

    A family member has more recently said things to me like this: "You can't say things that way. You have to say such-and-such." I hadn't necessarily even said anything wrong; sometimes my "crime" was simply that someone else they didn't like had said something similar to what I said. 

    As scary as things seem right now, I would rather be punished for doing the RIGHT thing than for doing something wrong.  Jesus said, "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."  (Matthew 5:11-12)  I am concerned about being persecuted. but I've already had some persecution in the past. Right now I want to make absolutely sure that any persecution is for the gospel and not about something else.   

    We must be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves.  But one big difference we have as Christians is GRACE.  There is very little grace in "cancel culture," and it's hard to gain any kind of redemption.  We won't win by shouting louder, but we can show the world a different way through the gospel of grace. 

    Having said all that, I would add: one reason comparisons to the Holocaust are so offensive is because people living today lost family members in the Holocaust-in some cases, they lost multiple family members. It may seem like a long time ago, particularly those who were not directly affected;  but the wounds are still there for people whose families were directly affected, and there are deep cultural wounds that go even further back in history (i.e. from Russian pograms, atrocities during the Crusades, etc). I think we can still value free speech AND remain willing to listen to others and show sensitivity about issues that may be painful to them.  

  • Big Jim
    Posted: Wed, 02/17/2021 06:25 pm

    not silent - nice thoughtful post. I was not directing my comment so much about the content of Gina's tweet (i.e. making Holocaust comparisons) but rather the different treatment people receive, depending on their ideological belief system, for very similar behavior. For instance, people on the left were making "Hitler" and "Nazi"  and "stormtrooper" comparisons when referring to Pres. Trump and his supporters but that has not generated the same level of outrage and "cancelling" in contrast to comparable comments made by people with a different persuasion.

    And frankly, it's a little much being lectured or cancelled by Hollywood, an industry that allowed Harvey Weinstein to prey on young women for decades and did nothing about it.

  • not silent
    Posted: Wed, 02/17/2021 08:17 pm

    For Big Jim, you're not wrong!  There has been and continues to be a lot of unfairness in how cultural standards are applied, not to mention that the standards are constantly changing!  There's also a lot of hypocrisy (i.e., with Weinstein and many others). It's hard even to know what is true when there are so many voices shouting different opinions and when we don't even agree on the meaning of the words we use.  That is why I keep coming back to the gospel and God's Word.

    It hurts that the world (i.e., secular society) isn't fair; but I think we will always be disappointed when we expect it TO BE FAIR.  For what it's worth, I don't think it's wrong or bad to feel sad, anxious, or uncertain in times like these. I think the key is whether we let Satan use these things to cause misery, fear, anger, or depression or we let God use them to help us become more reliant on HIM. 

    This world is broken, and only God can fix it.  I'm not saying that in a fatalistic sense or with a mind to give up on trying to change things but with the awareness that no change will be effective unless God is directing it.  So I must look to GOD to show ME how to live in this broken world in a way that pleases him and brings glory to him.   

ADVERTISEMENT