Disney Cancels The Mandalorian Star Gina Carano Over Provocative Social Media Posts
Gina Carano is a former MMA fighter, outspoken Republican, and co-star of Disney’s The Mandalorian. On Wednesday, Lucasfilm—the Disney-owned studio that produces The Mandalorian and other Star Wars properties—denounced her social media posts and said there were no plans to include her in any future projects.
“Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future,” said Lucasfilm in a statement. “Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”
This statement apparently referenced a recent Instagram post of Carano’s that did indeed contain a tortured and offensively hyperbolic analogy. Carano did not “denigrate people based on their cultural and religious identity,” however. And while Disney is within its rights to cease working with an actress who occasionally makes provocative right-wing comments, it’s impossible to ignore the double standard at play here, since similarly provocative statements from liberal Star Wars cast members have not resulted in any sanction.
Here is what Carano wrote on Instagram:
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.
This was a very flawed comment: For one thing, Nazi soldiers absolutely beat Jews, in the streets and elsewhere. Carano is right that part of the Nazis’ agenda was to persuade German citizens to hate and fear their Jewish neighbors—but what happened in 1930s Germany is not remotely similar to what is happening today in the U.S. The Nazi Party’s demonization of the Jewish people led to genocide. The media’s demonization of the Republican Party—which is not directly referenced in her post, but it’s assumed that’s what she meant—is obviously not comparable to the Holocaust.
That said, Disney is wrong to say that Carano denigrated Jewish people, or that she is “abhorrent” for making such a comparison. She’s a celebrity with an obnoxious political opinion, which is not exactly a rare animal.
And that’s the bigger issue with Disney’s decision to drop Carano: hypocrisy. If the studio doesn’t want to work with actors and actresses who make over-the-top Nazi comparisons, it has a major problem on its hands: Pedro Pascal, the star and eponymous character of The Mandalorian, once sent a tweet likening Trump’s immigration policies to Nazi concentration camps.
This is not so surprising: Hollywood is chock full of people with quirky political views making dramatic analogies. As Bloomberg‘s Eli Lake pointed out, Sean Penn is an apologist for former Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. Benicio del Toro dedicated an award to the memory of murderous Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara. Nick Cannon praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a repugnant anti-Semite. (ViacomCBS fired Cannon for his remarks, but rehired him after he apologized.)
Carano has occasionally made other controversial comments: She has criticized universal masking and suggested that combating voter fraud should be a major part of the Republican agenda. Disney apparently abandoned plans to give Carano her own show following one such post back in November.
Some conservatives have called for a boycott of Disney following its decision. While I’m not the biggest fan of boycotts, it strikes me as reasonable for conservatives to be upset about this double standard. Why does Disney care more about Carano’s dumb but relatively inconsequential Instagram post than it does about China’s ethnic cleansing of the Uighur Muslims? If the company thinks “denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities” is abhorrent, then perhaps it shouldn’t be working so closely with the Chinese Communist Party, which earned a “special thanks” in the credits of Mulan.