When it comes to fired The Mandalorian actress Gina Carano and Elon Musk, revenge against the Walt Disney Company is served piping hot, even if it takes a bit of time and tries to snare Pedro Pascal and Mark Hamill.
Three years after ex-MMA fighter Carano was axed by the then Bob Chapek-run Disney for comparing the political climate in America to Nazi Germany, Carano on Tuesday sued Disney and Star Wars shingle Lucasfilm for dropping her from the bounty-hunter series – and the X/Tesla owner is paying for her lawyers.
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“A short time ago in a galaxy not so far away, Defendants made it clear that only one orthodoxy in thought, speech, or action was acceptable in their empire, and that those who dared to question or failed to fully comply would not be tolerated,” reads the complaint seeking a jury trial filed this morning in federal court says. “And so it was with Carano.”
“The rule of law still reigns over the Defendants’ empire … and Carano has returned to demand that they be held accountable for their bullying, discriminatory, and retaliatory actions — actions that inflicted not only substantial emotional harm, but millions of dollars in lost income,” adds the suit, which alleges wrongful discharge and sex discrimination.
On February 21, 2021, not long after the second season of The Mandalorian co-starring Carano had concluded on Disney+, Lucasfilm put out a scathing statement on its business with the actress: “Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future. Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”
With the suit, Carano and her lawyers are hoping to call out Disney and Lucasfilm for reneging on a deal and sacrificing free speech.
“In addition to terminating her, Defendants refused to hire her for roles already promised, including but not limited to Season 3 of The Mandalorian, the new series Rangers of the New Republic, and planned future Stars Wars full length feature films (which have recently been announced) — all because of her political beliefs and in disparate treatment from her male co-workers,” the complaint asserts.
The openly conservative Carano is also seeking to paint the now Bob Iger-run Disney as having a sexist double standard. “Defendants also discriminated against Carano by treating her differently from her male co-stars who also made public, political statements on social media,” the suit says. “Her male co-stars were not disciplined, let alone terminated in a way to destroy their careers even though some would find their statements ‘abhorrent.’ “
To that point, the suit spotlights posts and statements by Mandalorian lead Pedro Pascal and Luke Skywalker himself (and Mandalorian Season 2 finale guest) Mark Hamill regarding Donald Trump and the former president’s policies being like those of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. In language similar to the references to Pascal, Carano’s suit says “Defendants did not comment on, let alone publicly condemn Hamill’s social media comments.”
Seeking a slew of damages and a court order to get back her Mandalorian role of Rebel ranger Cara Dune, Carano took to social media today to amplify her long-delayed legal move. Claiming her “words were consistently twisted to demonize & dehumanize me as an alt right wing extremist,” the ex-UTA represented actress (the agency dropped her not long after Disney/Lucasfilm did in February 2021) also revealed that Musk is playing for her.
Today is an important day for me–I am filing a lawsuit against @lucasfilm & @Disney
After my 20 years of building a career from scratch, and during the regime of former Disney CEO Bob Chapek, Lucasfilm made this statement on Twitter, terminating me from The Mandalorian: “Gina…
— Gina Carano 🕯 (@ginacarano) February 6, 2024
Disney has not replied to Deadline’s request for comment on Carano’s Musk-backed suit. If and when the Mouse House does, this post will be updated.
Musk’s team was quick to confirm its financial support of Carano and stick the shiv in Disney’s side.
“As a sign of X Corp.’s commitment to free speech, we’re proud to provide financial support for Gina Carano’s lawsuit, empowering her to seek vindication of her free speech rights on X and the ability to work without bullying, harassment, or discrimination,” read a statement released today by the Musk-owned social media platform’s head of business operations Joe Benarroch.
Of course, coming off a big defeat in federal court in Florida last week in its now-appealed free speech lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis, Disney may not recognize the irony at play here. It may also wonder if Musk’s deep pockets for Carano has something to do with Disney joining other corporations to pause its advertising on X in November after the Tesla kingpin retweeted a distinctly antisemitic post.
With Iger sitting nearby, Musk lashed out at Disney and others for the ad boycott at a November 29, 2023 high-profile media conference. “Somebody’s going to try to blackmail me with advertising?” Musk responded after being a question from moderator Andrew Ross Sorkin on the situation. “Blackmail me with money? Go f*ck yourself. Go. F*ck. Yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is.”
“Hey, Bob, if you’re here in the audience,” Musk made a point of adding to Iger, who was there. “Sorry, that’s how I feel.”
Taking a swing at Chapek’s “failed leadership as Disney’s CEO” and accusation of the actress being opposed to trans rights and pronouns, the Black Lives Matter movement, Covid protocols and more, Carano’s Schaerr Jaffe attorneys have framed their client’s controversy and eventually pink-slipping as the consequence of her refusal to be bullied.
Carano claims that even before the Mandalorian firing, she was under constant pressure from Disney to “continue with her ‘re-education’ program,’ ” make “a public apology,” which never happened, and sit with two GLAAD representatives, among other missives. Carano further alleges that in late 2020, Disney/Lucasfilm “communicated to Carano’s publicist that they were going to require Carano to participate in a Zoom call with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and 45 employees who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, going so far as to say that her willingness to endure such harassment and humiliation was a ‘litmus test’ for her.”
That virtual meeting never occurred, though Carano’s filing says she did offer to take some of those employees out to dinner – an offer that was rebuffed.
While Carano objects to being portrayed as an extremist, it should be noted that one of her first moves after being fired by Disney in 2021 was to jump into Terror on the Prairie. Carano is producing the feature with Ben Shapiro and film director Jeremy Boreing’s conservative media company The Daily Wire. In November 2021, Carano went online to announce she has joined the First Family biopic My Son Hunter from director Robert Davi. Distributed by Brietbart News, the Biden family flick with co-star Lawrence Fox was released in September 2022.
Last week, Carano took to Instagram soon after the death of Carl Weathers was made public, revealing the Rocky legend and her Mandalorian co-star/director called her up after Disney fired her to tell her he “didn’t want me to give up, he was letting me know that he wasn’t throwing me away, he was trying to keep my hope alive in what seemed like a quite hopeless scenario, he showed me he cared. That is who he was.”
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