Gina Carano is coming out swinging years after being turfed from her role as Cara Dune on Star Wars spinoff series The Mandalorian.
Carano, a pioneer and one of the early stars in women’s MMA, had landed the coveted role in 2018 and performed well enough that talks of her own spinoff had been rumored. However, in February of 2021, Lucasfilm (owned by Disney) announced that she would no longer appear on the show, as a result of posts she made to the social media site commonly known as Twitter.
Those posts included the suggestion that “hating someone for their political views” was similar to the treatment of Jewish people in Nazi Germany, as well as changing her pronouns to “beep/boop/beep” on her profile. At the time, Lucasfilm issued a statement criticizing Carano. “Her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable,” it read in part.
On Tuesday, Carano filed suit in California federal court claiming that she was fired from the series due to her political beliefs. The lawsuit is funded by Elon Musk’s X Corp.
“If you were unfairly treated by your employer due to posting or liking something on this platform, we will fund your legal bill,” Musk had previously stated on the social media site. The Tesla chief added that there would be “no limit” to what the company was willing to offer.
The company also issued a statement in conjunction with Gina Carano’s lawsuit. “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,” stated Joe Benarroch, Head of Business Operations.
Benarroch, like Musk, has positioned himself as a staunch supporter of free speech online. “Freedom of speech and information independence are inextricably linked — both play a big role in tackling major societal issues that are key to transforming the world,” he wrote in a post to the website just last month.
“Some of us have been unjustly singled out, harassed, persecuted and had our livelihoods stripped away because we dared to encourage conversation, asked questions, and refused to go along with the mob,” Carano told The Hollywood Reporter following the filing of her lawsuit. “I am honored that my case has been chosen to be supported by the company [X] that has been one of the last glimmers of hope for free speech in the world.”
Carano claims in the suit that male stars making similar public statements were in essence given a pass, and is asking for Disney to recast her in the role of Cara Dune, while also pursuing at least $75,000 in compensation plus punitive damages. It also alleges Disney “went so far as to try and convince Carano’s publicist to force Carano to issue a statement admitting to mocking or insulting an entire group of people, which Carano had never done.”
Disney has come under fire for its forays into politics in recent years, and recently lost a lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, after the state reclaimed control over the special district that contains Disney World.