“Racist!”, “Anti-Semite!”, “Bigot!” “FIRE HER!” We’re just a few of the tamer things written on social media under the hashtags #FireGinaCarano Wednesday afternoon.
Actress and former MMA fighter Gina Carano became even more well known in the past few years due to her role in the Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian.
For over a year people have been campaigning to get her fired from the show because of her political views. I remember seeing Twitter trends after the first season of The Mandalorian calling for her termination. Why? Because she was not politically liberal like most of Hollywood was. She has always been very open about her views against big government and government control. She’s openly called out people for their political hypocrisy and double standards. More recently she has spoken out against the COVID-19 restrictions and regulations put in place by certain governors and has called them out for not abiding by their own rules regarding face masks and social-distancing. This also is in line with her politically conservative views of small government.
On Wednesday she shared a meme from an account called Warrior Priest Gym & Podcast (@warriorpriestgympodcast) that said:
“Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers, but by their neighbors…even 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?”
Contrary to what most are reporting, Carano didn’t actually write those words, she simply shared a graphic/meme from another account. But in the world of social media, sharing something like that is seen as agreeing with the statement.
When comparing things with Nazis, the Holocaust, or the treatment of the Jews in Europe, it is usually going to stir up emotions in people and upset people. One must always be careful when drawing those comparisons. Somebody, somewhere will always say drawing those comparisons is insensitive. And many times it is.
Was the graphic/meme Carano shared insensitive? Sure. But it was in no way degrading or denigrating anyone, nor was it racist or against any religious views. The things said in that graphic/meme were not making light of what European neighbors did to Jews, it was pointing out that back then people’s own neighbors turned against them simply because of their religious views or heritage, and today people’s own neighbors are turning against them because of their political beliefs.
In response to the mob of social media users demanding her termination for her post, Lucasfilm, who produces The Mandalorian released a statement saying,
“Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future. Her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable”.
Despite what many are reporting, Republicans, Conservatives, or Trump were not mentioned in the graphic/meme. In reality, those words could be used to describe either side of the political aisle. We see politically conservative people turning against their neighbors for being politically liberal and politically liberal people turning against their neighbors for being politically conservative.
True, political views are not equal to religious views or heritage, but the point is about how people treat people who are different from them. The graphic/meme was not racist or anti-Semitic in any way.
In response to Lucasfilm’s statement and Carano’s critics, UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volok wrote an article in the online magazine Reason.com, saying,
“This is not anti-Semitism, under any established or sensible definition of anti-Semitism. It isn’t “denigrating [Jews] based on their cultural and religious identities.” It isn’t expressing hostility to Jews because they are Jewish. Indeed, the premise of the analogy is that Jews were wrongly hated, and that, she argues, [people with political views] are analogously wrongly hated today.”
We see people on all political sides calling others Nazis all the time. For 4 years we’ve seen those on the left refer to President Trump and Republicans as Nazis, putting themselves in the place of the Jewish people being oppressed. Politicians, actors , talk show hosts, comedians, and everyone in between has made statements like that towards almost every president since WWII. In my lifetime I’ve heard people refer to Bush (1 & 2), Clinton, Obama, and Trump as either Hitler or a Nazi.
In fact, Carano’s co-star on The Mandalorian, Pedro Pascal shared a meme in 2018 comparing the immigration policies of both presidents Obama and Trump to the treatment of the Jews by the Nazis. Were any of those claims anti-Semitic or racist? No. Neither was the graphic/meme Carano shared.
Volokh summed up his article by saying,
“It’s bad to dilute the significance of the Holocaust in the public mind by analogizing all misbehavior to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews; it both wrongly minimizes what the Nazis did, and it’s not really honest. But it seems even worse to dilute the significance of the label “anti-Semitism,” by labeling such faulty analogies anti-Semitic.”
Not Your Typical Female Character.
Gina Carano’s character, Cara Dune was an anomaly in the Star Wars series in that she broke the mold of traditional female stereotypes. Unlike the other main female characters in the Star Wars series, she wasn’t a princess, she wasn’t a Queen, she wasn’t overly sexualized, she didn’t have Daddy issues, she wasn’t sold into slavery, and she wasn’t someone who struggled with their identity. Her character was a former soldier who was known for her bravery in intense combat situations, ability to handle heavy weaponry, and expertise in hand-to-hand combat. She was, very much like the actress herself, a strong, free-thinking, no-nonsense, badass.
Now, I don’t say any of this to discredit the other female characters or their respective actresses, I’m simply pointing out that she is not your typical Star Wars or action film female character.
I give Lucasfilm credit for having an awesome female character like that, but it seems as though they were not ready to have an actress that too much resembled the character. I personally it seems to me that they did not like her because she was not a typical actress in Hollywood. She wasn’t politically liberal, she didn’t stand ups against president Trump, she didn’t speak all the typical rhetoric you hear most actress speaking. She is a strong, independent, free-thinking, woman. For all their talk of female empowerment and equality, I guess Disney just isn’t ready and isn’t tolerant enough to hire a female like that.
Other Female Stars
I find it interesting that in the past few years almost all the big new female actresses in the newer Star Wars series have had people in masses come out against them. Daisy Ridley who played Rey deleted her Instagram because of all the disgusting, derogatory, and misogynistic things people were commenting on her posts.
Kelly Marie Tran who played Rose in the Sequel Trilogy was harassed and made fun of across many online platforms for many things ranging from her race and her weight to her acting abilities and her character. It got so bad that she ended up deleting her Instagram account.
“Their words reinforced a narrative I had heard my whole life: that I was “other,” that I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t good enough, simply because I wasn’t like them.”
I feel like that is just as much fitting for Gina Carano.Disclaimer: I don’t agree with a lot of the things Carano posted, but I respect her for speaking out and going against the grain in Hollywood. Although I believe some of her posts were insensitive, I do not view any of them as racist or bigoted or attacking towards anyone’s religion.