Actress Gina Carano is suing Disney and Lucasfilm for wrongful termination and sex discrimination in an escalation of a dispute over her firing from the streaming Star Wars series “The Mandalorian.”
“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. And so it was with Carano,” the complaint filed on Tuesday states.
“After two highly acclaimed seasons on ‘The Mandalorian’ as Rebel ranger Cara Dune, Carano was terminated from her role as swiftly as her character’s peaceful home planet of Alderaan had been destroyed by the Death Star in an earlier Star Wars film,” the suit continues. “And all this because she dared voice her own opinions, on social media platforms and elsewhere, and stood up to the online bully mob who demanded her compliance with their extreme progressive ideology.”
The lawsuit also claims that Disney and Lucasfilm “took no action against male actors who took equally or more vigorous and controversial positions on social media,” a reference to her former co-star Pedro Pascal’s 2017 post comparing former President Donald Trump to Hitler.
Carano is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to recast her at Lucasfilm and compensatory damages exceeding $75,000 related to her loss of pay for nine months since her termination. She’s also seeking additional compensation related to the loss of her role in “Rangers of the New Republic.”
During her work on “The Mandalorian,” Carano was paid $25,000 per episode as a guest actor and later negotiated a one-time $5,000 bonus.
The former MMA fighter’s firing from the Disney+ series came in February 2021 after the hashtag #FireGinaCarano trended over an Instagram post comparing being Republican to being Jewish during Nazi Germany.
“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,” she wrote at the time.
Another Instagram story post showed someone with several masks covering their entire face with the caption “Meanwhile in California.”
In response, Lucasfilm said that Carano was not currently employed with the studio and that there were “no plans for her to be in the future,” adding that her “social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”
In an X post on Tuesday, Carano said that “nothing could be further from the truth” in response to Lucasfilm’s initial statement.
“The truth is I was being hunted down from everything I posted to every post I liked because I was not in line with the acceptable narrative of the time. My words were consistently twisted to demonize & dehumanize me as an alt right wing extremist. It was a bullying smear campaign aimed at silencing, destroying & making an example out of me,” she wrote. “The thing is I never even used aggressive language. I shared thought provoking quotes, pictures, memes & occasionally I used my own words, not with aggression but with respect & the occasional comedy to keep the mood light in dark times.”
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
The lawsuit states that Carano was subjected to “long phone calls demanding an explanation and criticizing her for not embracing what some see as mandatory solidarity with a vocal element of the transgender activist community” and that she was required to meet with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination.
“Defendants 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,” the complaint adds.
After she refused, Carano was told to meet with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and 45 employees who identify as LGBTQ, according to the suit. She declined and was terminated shortly thereafter.
Her legal efforts are being funded by Elon Musk as part of his initiative to cover costs for X users who faced discrimination for activity on his site.
“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,” the platform’s head of business operations Joe Benarroch told TheWrap.
Carano thanked Musk and X for the opportunity to “bring my case to light.”
“As for me, I would love to pick up where I left off & continue my journey of creating & participating in story-telling, which is my utmost passion & everything I worked so hard for,” she added. “It has been difficult to move forward with the lies & labels stuck on me, backed & encouraged by the most powerful entertainment company in the world. I am grateful someone has come to my defense in such a powerful way & look forward to clearing my name. Thank you to all the people who have supported me & made your voices heard.”
A Disney spokesperson did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment.
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