By Ryan E. Smith
In his climactic duel with Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi famously told the Sith Lord, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”
Gina Carano, a former MMA fighter who starred as Cara Dune in the hit Star Wars show The Mandalorian, was struck down by her employers at Disney last week in response to social media posts some found offensive. They have even gone as far as to cancel a planned action figure line based on her character. The question now is – has Disney ended a career or launched one?
Carano was fired by Disney and Lucasfilm (Disney’s Star Wars studio) on February 10 and subsequently dropped by her talent agency following a post on Instagram arguing that promoting hate over someone’s politics today echoes the actions of Nazis toward the Jews:
“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?”
#FireGinaCarano trended on Twitter all day until Disney severed ties with the actress.
Critics claimed that the now-deleted Instagram post was anti-Semitic and trivialized the Holocaust. Many of Carano’s fans say this is a dishonest reading of the post. Though Carano’s Instagram post may have been poorly conceived, a kinder interpretation is that she was saying that mistreating your neighbors because they disagree with you is a slippery slope.
While Disney says it acted in response to this single post, many Mandalorian fans from the political right believe Disney had been looking for a reason to fire her for some time. Carano is known for being an outspoken conservative on social media.
The actress first ran afoul of “Woke America” in September, when she refused to add her pronouns to her social media profiles. Many on the left immediately began bashing her for “not supporting trans lives.” They only became angrier when she began liking and reposting criticisms of Dr. Fauci during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another reason some conservatives believe Carano was fired simply for not being a liberal is because of an apparent double standard from Disney. Pedro Pascal, the actor who plays the eponymous Mandalorian, was revealed to have a long history of trivializing the Holocaust and comparing Trump supporters to Nazis on social media.
In particular, he had tweeted out an inaccurate meme with the caption “#ThisisAmerica” comparing a picture of Jewish children during the Holocaust to one which appeared to show children detained at the U.S. border. It turned out that the latter photo depicted children at a soup kitchen in Gaza rather than the “kids in cages” Pascal was trying to portray.
Pascal still has his job at Disney.
Trump supporters were also quick to note that the “kids in cages” detention policy began during the Obama presidency.
Carano’s story provides an intersection for two broader debates in current American culture. One is the argument over whether people should be able to keep their jobs and their place in society, even if they express unpopular or controversial opinions. From The New York Times to the San Francisco school board – which recently voted to cancel even Abraham Lincoln – the answer is no.
The other debate is over the apparent hypocrisy of American companies like Disney who are quick to punish American actors and personalities over comments or tweets, then happily work with brutal regimes like the Chinese Communist Party. Disney infamously thanked CCP-related groups in the credits of its live-action Mulan movie that run the nation’s “reeducation camps” where Uyghur Muslims are subject to forced labor and even torture.
Disney and the NBA have far more tolerance for the oppressive Communist regime in Beijing, critics say, than they do for free speech and intellectual diversity in America.
As for Carano, this “cancel culture” story may have a new hope.
The Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro’s conservative media outlet, has recently expanded into the entertainment industry. Shapiro announced Carano would be brought on to produce and star in his company’s next film.
“This is what Daily Wire exists to do: provide an alternative not just for consumers, but for creators who refuse to bow to the mob,” he said. “We’re eager to bring Gina’s talent to Americans who love her, 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.”
Ryan Smith is a communications professional based in Washington, DC. He has worked for The Heritage Foundation, the RNC, and on Capitol Hill. He wrote this for InsideSources.