Gina Carano, former MMA wrestler and an actor in The Mandalorian, was fired from her job after a controversy over an allegedly anti-Semitic social-media post. In short order, UTSA, her talent agency, dropped her as a client.
In Hungary there is a generation still remembering what it feels being banned or put in a ghetto or even killed for being something else than the mainstream.
Being jewish, gay, gipsy, handicapped, later being imperialist, “kulák”, “counter-revolutionary”, and the list goes on.
There were even laws avoiding “those” to have any opportunity for public voice.
The same phenomenon also dirtied the American Dream: in the late 1940s and 1950s, Hollywood studios promised they would not “knowingly employ a communist.” This blacklist eventually became notorious, especially in Hollywood, which came to lionize its victims in several films. Now it is said that it was under pressure from the right sided goverment.
Time passed since then, one would think we have learnt from our mistakes, and as famous Hungarian writer, Péter Esterházy said:
“Above a certain level we do not sink below a certain level.”
But the post now in question, which triggered a social-media firestorm that quickly led to her firing and loss of representation, was not anti-Semitic by any reasonable definition. The post simply argued that the Holocaust grew out of a hate campaign against Jews, which it then likened to hatred of fellow Americans for their political views.
The comparison is far from true or insightful, by a person who have never seen personally any of it. Who never experienced being silenced for being ideologicaly or politicaly something else than the actual reign. But saying something foolish is not a crime.
This time isn’t Hollywood acting as if it were the ideological-political regime defining what is acceptable? Isn’t that reminding us the McCarthy-era’s blacklists when liberals or progressives who refused to turn in the names of their colleagues were simply neglected and many others were bona fide communists?
Hollywood studios has the right to refuse to associate themselves with people who have certain beliefs. But a fair and truly liberal society – which Hollywood poses to be – is able to create some space between an individual’s political views and the position of their employer.
After Carano shared her posts on her story late Tuesday night many people on Twitter began using the hashtag #FireGinaCarano, tagging accounts for Disney, Disney Plus, “Star Wars” and Lucasfilm and requesting that Carano be dropped from “The Mandalorian.”
Both posts were removed from Carano’s Instagram story Wednesday afternoon.
In a statement Thursday, Lucasfilm said it didn’t currently employ Carano, who played ex-Rebel soldier Cara Dune, and there were no plans for her to be in future episodes of “The Mandalorian”. Lucasfilm simultaneously denounced Carano’s posts as denigrating people’s cultural and religious identities, calling them abhorrent and unacceptable.
Carano was a frequent guest star on “The Mandalorian” since the first season, with Dune often helping the title character (played by Pedro Pascal) on his mission to keep Grogu (aka Baby Yoda) safe from Imperial forces hunting the tiny alien creature.
“Texan Gina Carano broke barriers in the Star Wars universe: not a princess, not a victim, not some emotionally tortured Jedi,” Republican Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted. “She played a woman who kicked ass & who girls looked up to. She was instrumental in making Star Wars fun again. Of course Disney canceled her.”
As Jonathan Chait, a seasoned New York Times journalist said recently, what’s most striking about the news coverage of Carano’s defenestration was the utter absence of any scrutiny of her employer or her (now-former) agency. The tone of the reporting simply conveys her posts as though they were a series of petty crimes, the punishment of which is inevitable and self-evidently justified.
The question remains simple and sound: if an actor is ought to be fired for expressing unsound political views – who’s gonna be next?