Gina Carano ‘Mandalorian’ Lawsuit Fails as Disney Lawyers Hit Back

in Disney, Star Wars

Gina Carano as Cara Dune in The Mandalorian

Credit: Lucasfilm

The Walt Disney Company is striking back at former Star Wars actor Gina Carano, demanding her discrimination lawsuit be dismissed and accusing her of trivializing the Holocaust, mocking transgender people, spreading election-denier misinformation, and blaming the United States government for suicides and murders.

Gina Carano poses in a yellow dress on 'The Mandalorian' S1 red carpet
Credit: ABC

Gina Carano was a superstar MMA fighter when the Disney-owned Lucasfilm cast her as Cara Dune, the Alderaanian soldier of fortune who becomes an ally to bounty hunter Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) in the massively popular Disney+ series The Mandalorian. Almost immediately, Carano became a breakout guest star on the series; she later told The Hollywood Reporter that director Jon Favreau told her that her  “life [was] about to change” because of the role.

The actress frequently appeared in the first two seasons of The Mandalorian, and eventually, Disney announced that she would star in Rangers of the New Republic, a spinoff series that would further expand the Star Wars Mandoverse. It would have been a huge step in her career and could have transformed her into one of the biggest stars in streaming television.

Things have not turned out that way, to put it mildly.

Gina Carano as Cara Dune in 'The Mandalorian'
Credit: Lucasfilm

In 2021, Disney abruptly announced that it had parted ways with the Cara Dune actor and that it would not be moving forward with Rangers of the New Republic. According to then-CEO Bob Chapek, Carano’s views “didn’t align with Company values,” including its “values of respect, values of decency, values of integrity, and values of inclusion.”

Related: Fired ‘Mandalorian’ Star Gina Carano Addresses Cancellation, Says Disney Lawsuit Is “Important”

Chapek was referring to the actor’s notorious social media presence. The actress was (and is) a frequent Twitter figure and was known for using social media to express conservative opinions on the COVID-19 epidemic, transgender issues, and, eventually, Nazi Germany. At a certain point, it seems Disney was fed up and decided not to continue hiring her for Star Wars, a fine but important distinction from “firing.”

Two years after Disney declined to continue paying her, Gina Carano filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that she had been discriminated against for her conservative beliefs and “harassed.” She is asking for $75,000 in damages and, bizarrely, for her character to be written back into The Mandalorian. Needless to say, it is somewhat unusual for a person who feels they have been unjustly fired for personal reasons to demand that they be re-hired.

Gina Carano files lawsuit against Disney with help from Elon Musk.
Credit: ITM

The lawsuit is further notable for being financed by South African billionaire and social media magnate Elon Musk, who announced that he would fund lawsuits for anyone who felt they were fired over a Twitter post, saying, “If you were unfairly treated by your employer due to posting or liking something on this platform, we will fund your legal bill. No limit.”

It should be mentioned that Elon Musk also has a vested interest in suing Disney, which he has attacked as a “woke” corporation, injected himself into its boardroom drama (despite not owning any Disney stock), and even publicly cursed out CEO Bob Iger when the company stopped paying him for advertising on Twitter. Musk and Carano both seem to be of the mind that Disney has an obligation to keep giving them money, and it is somehow a First Amendment violation not to do so.

Disney does not feel the same way and is, ironically, invoking its own First Amendment rights of “freedom of association” to defend not continuing to employ her as Cara Dune.

Related: Elon Musk Supports Disney Lawsuit Over Female ‘Star Wars’ Director

In a harsh new filing, the Walt Disney Company has asked the Central Court District of California to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming it has a “constitutional right not to associate its artistic expression with Carano’s speech” and that her social media statements conflict with the messages it wishes to project.

While the First Amendment is often understood to protect free speech (and is misunderstood to cover anything but governmental action), the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld that it protects “freedom of association.” That means, broadly speaking, that the government cannot force “organizations to include persons with whom they disagree on political, religious, or ideological matters” or “violate members’ freedom of association, particularly if those laws interfere with an organization’s message.”

Gina Carano on the right side as a Mandalorian and 'The Mandalorian' on the left
Credit: Inside the Magic

Interestingly, that means that while the former Star Wars actor and Elon Musk claim that Disney violated California labor laws and the First Amendment over her social media posts, the company asserts the same Constitutional tenet defends it from having to employ her because of her opinions.

The new Disney filing goes into queasy depth about the social media posts that it found offensive, which should act as a good reminder of exactly what Carano was posting on Twitter at the time. It states:

Carano made public declarations blaming pandemic-related closure orders and vaccine mandates for causing widespread suicides and murders, attacking the legitimacy of the 2020 Presidential election, and mocking people who identify their pronouns to show support for transgender rights.

The coup de grace came in February 2021, when Carano admittedly reposted on Instagram a post comparing criticism of politically conservative viewpoints to the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. As Carano told the world: “Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors…even by 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?’”

Disney asserts, “Carano’s decision to publicly trivialize the Holocaust by comparing criticism of political conservatives to the annihilation of millions of Jewish people—notably, not “thousands”—was the final straw for Disney.” It further attacks her claims using her own legal defense, stating, “Carano’s… counsel has acknowledged that ‘organizations that create speech products may be free to refuse to include speakers whose outside speech undermines the organization’s message.'”

Related: Fans Celebrate Gina Carano and Elon Musk’s Battle With ‘Star Wars’

The filing cites numerous cases in which the Supreme Court has upheld an organization’s right not to associate itself with an individual who expresses opinions that don’t match its own. It makes particular note Disney, as an enterprise that produces artistic expression, is “entitled to broad deference in deciding which performers to employ to express its artistic messages.”

Pedro Pascal as Din Djarin (left) and Gina Carano as Cara Dune (right) in 'The Mandalorian'
Credit: Lucasfilm

Ultimately, Disney is arguing that, just as Gina Carano has a right to express her opinions, it has a right not to associate itself with her and her opinions. It asks the court to fully dismiss the lawsuit, which obviously would be a huge blow to the actor and her patron, Elon Musk.

In recent months, Gina Carano has been on something of a sympathy tour, saying she was “thinking about clearing my name” and “thinking about finally being healthier and having this monkey off my back and telling my story and just getting on with my life. Finally.” She told The Hollywood Reporter:

I just laid down and cried and cried. I curled into a fetal position. It’s not that I didn’t think that something like that could happen. It was that I couldn’t imagine they would put out this horrendous statement about me after working with me — the most powerful entertainment company in the world saying that about me.

Carano has repeatedly claimed that she was a victim of “cancelation” and that Disney is discriminating against her, but this filing pretty definitively shows that it is only using her own words. It’s now up to a judge to determine if Disney has any right to determine who it employs.

Whose side are you on, Disney or Gina Carano? Tell Inside the Magic in the comments below!

The full text of Disney’s filing can be read here:

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