Controversy over Gina Carano reached its head this week, as news broke that The Mandalorian star had been fired from the show and any future Lucasfilm projects. This came after she shared an Instagram post in which compared being Conservative to being a Jewish person during the Holocaust. The post was the latest from the former MMA fighter to stoke a negative reaction online. This follows a series of transphobic tweets from September of last year in which she changed her display name to “Gina Carano boop/bop/beep” and proceeded to mock transgender fans who had asked for her to place her pronouns in her bio. This raises the question: if Disney and Lucasfilm are willing to fire her for political controversy, why was Transphobia not deemed enough of an issue to remove her previously?
While the series of tweets led to a disgraced reaction online, no statement was given from Lucasfilm or parent company Disney despite their claims of wanting to “represent” LGBTQ+ rights in future. This becomes even more shocking when looking at Mandalorian star Pedro Pascal’s record on trans rights. Pascal is a proud supporter of the community, placing his pronouns prominently in his display name on social media and being a vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ causes. The Cara Dune actor’s firing also comes shortly after Pascal’s sister, a Transgender woman, stated in an interview that “Pedro is an important part of [me coming out]. He was the first person to gift me the tools that started shaping my identity.”
Carano’s tweets were not only offensive in and of themselves, they mock the very identity of Pascal’s sister and the vitally important role that public pronouns play in making online spaces welcoming and safe for members of the Trans community. Despite this horrible behavior, no moves were taken from Lucasfilm or Disney to remove her from the show.
In the wake of Carano’s Instagram story, however, #FireGinaCarano went viral, with many pointing to the clear historical influences behind Star Wars. With the monolithic Empire being powered by literal “Stormtroopers,” the franchise has long had a history of standing against fascism and supporting anti-fascist movements. Carano’s post likened being one of the millions of Jewish people persecuted and murdered in the Holocaust by fascist Nazis, to people requesting she not post transphobic content or support the attempted violent overthrow of the American government. Aside from shaming the trans community and disrespecting the Jewish community, Carano also publicly ignited misinformation on “voter fraud” regarding the 2020 election, mocked mask-wearing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, all while saluting the criminals who stormed the U.S Capitol on January 6. Her firing was not some exclusion of Republicans/Conservatives, nor a sign of the dangers of “cancel culture”. Carano’s firing was an undeniable next step, one that should have come far sooner than it did.
It is not as if Cara Dune played a huge role in The Mandalorian, making this a difficult decision to make. By the end of Season 2, Dune’s role is left somewhat in limbo. Some fans were already calling for a recast, but Dune being quietly written off is also very much on the table as the plot technically no longer needs her. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lucasfilm planned to announce her very own Disney+ series along with the rest of the big reveals at the Investor’s Day event in December. We previously recapped Lucasfilm’s plans and assumed that she would star in Rangers of the New Republic, a given with her character, but that rumor is now dead in its tracks. THR’s report also includes a quote from a studio insider: “They have been looking for a reason to fire her for two months, and today was the final straw.” The final straw in question was and is undeniable, but it was made clear from her surviving in the role until now that it’s apparently not a sackable offence to be transphobic – that isn’t crossing the line.
The argument on her employer’s behalf could be that liking tweets or sharing Instagram stories isn’t a strong enough basis for termination. Anyone who has ever been fired for sharing something on social media would quickly have something to say about that. Carano’s own fanbase (which is doing well judging from her rising follower count) would also point out that she tried her “best” to publicly make amends with those who “politely” disagreed with her online. However, combined with how massively harmful her posts were to the LGBTQ+ community, spreading misinformation (during both a pandemic and political crisis) is literally too dangerous with the kind of platform a media giant like Star Wars provides. This should have simply not been the breaking point.
The longer she remained part of The Mandalorian, the more Transgender fans are told that Star Wars is not a place for them. The longer she remained part of the series, the more Jewish fans are told that Star Wars is not a place for them. The longer she remained, the more the political and ideological base that Star Wars was founded on eroded day by day.
As of this moment, Carano has already begun to fight back. Not only was she let go from Star Wars, but from her talent agency UTA as well. With her history, this means that she will likely never work in Hollywood again. Many expected Carano to strike back in some shape or form – whether it be touring Fox News, InfoWars, or the Joe Rogan Experience – and her latest move is just as predictable. Carano has teamed with Ben Shapiro’s The Daily Wire to finance a new film. “They can’t cancel us if we don’t let them,” she tells Deadline. The irony of it all being that Disney is in no way anti-conservative.
Proud Republican/Conservative artists are found aplenty in the Disney family. The brand has kept conservative actors like Tim Allen, John Ratzenberger, and Chris Pratt employed with little to no problems. The difference, of course, is that none of these people have ever done anything as far as comparing their self-described oppression to the Holocaust. Conservative beliefs are welcome in the House of Mouse, dangerous rhetoric is not. When Carano and her cohorts claim “censorship” of right-leaning beliefs, it is more them being upset that they have to face consequences for their actions when spreading blatant misinformation and offensive messages. Conservatives are not being banned from Disney, bigots are.
Though the right decision has been reached, the time it has taken has truly indicated to members of the Transgender community that Lucasfilm and Disney do not care about them. From A New Hope to The Rise of Skywalker, practically every piece of Star Wars media has shown the importance of standing up for the oppressed, and standing against oppressive agendas. The Transgender community have been oppressed, invalidated, and beaten down by governments around the world and their experiences should not be deemed as nothing by Lucasfilm. By waiting till now to fire Carano, Lucasfilm and Disney will have lost a multitude of fans in the Transgender community due to the silence they showed in the face of the disrespect and hatred that Gina Carano aimed at this group.
Let this example with Gina Carano be a turning point though. #FireGinaCarano was just the beginning of a new standard in the way fans respond to media, in which actors and the studios that hire them are held responsible for the massive platforms the roles they take affords them. If you defend her in this situation, I’m sorry to say that you don’t understand Star Wars and it was not made for you, no matter how many members of the cantina band you can name. It has been about rising to the face of the oppressor from day one, and if you believe we should “keep politics out of Star Wars“, you might have honestly never seen any of the films. Gina Carano was deservedly fired – the question that really needs to be asked now: will Disney and Lucasfilm step up for Trans communty before it is too late moving forward?