What Gina Carano's Quick "Comeback" Reveals about Cancel Culture

The idea of "canceling" and cancel culture evokes a lot of strong opinions about its integrity and usefulness. Some argue that canceling a celebrity or public figure is a good thing because everyone should be held accountable for their past actions, mistakes, and travesties. Others argue that canceling furthers the incorrect notion that people cannot change or evolve; and that it encourages people to hide their possibly problematic past in fear of backlash, when it is better for us all to be open and honest.

People in favor of canceling often claim that the person facing backlash may only be apologizing because their past mistakes have been judged, and not because they have evolved to the point of genuinely regretting the action.

Of course, the situations that cause the most division are the ones where there is disagreement about whether the person should have had to apologize in the first place; like what recently happened with actress Gina Carano.

Gina Carano; former MMA fighter turned actress in the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian,” was recently booted from both the television show and her agency after a stream of controversial social media posts. Her employers claim that they have been “gunning for her for months” and just recently finally bit the bullet. 

My Pronouns Are Whiteboard Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Unsplash

Carano has made several posts on social media that have upset people, to the point where the hashtag “#FireGinaCarano” was trending on Twitter. This was specifically after she tweeted “flush out the fake votes” on November 5th, alluding to unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud during the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Before that, she was accused of mocking transgender people by putting “/beep/bop/boop” in her Twitter bio in the format that someone may put their personal pronouns.

So to say the least, Gina Carano is no novice at receiving backlash and hate on the internet. Still, she faced no repercussions in the workplace until just recently, when she had shared a TikTok post comparing the current U.S. political climate to Nazi Germany.

 

Her Instagram story read: “Jews were beaten in the streets, not by the 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 for simply being Jews, how is that any different from hating someone for their political views.”

Many people on the left were happy that Carano finally faced repercussions for her actions and statements. The efforts to penalize her were a long time coming, and from their perspective, the consequences were overdue. On the other hand, many conservatives felt that this was yet more evidence of the media and big tech’s bias against people who refuse to be “woke.” Conservative commentator, Ben Shapiro—who is Jewish himself—said on his podcast that he did not like grandiose Holocaust comparisons, but that under the exaggerated gist of Gina’s comment; that people are not free to express their political opinions anymore, was true. 

Shapiro’s accord with Carano’s plight eventually led to a potentially lucrative business deal for them both. The Daily Wire (a media company that Ben Shapiro is co-founder of) announced earlier this year that they would be making their mark in entertainment by producing original movies and television that “don’t take advantage of your viewership to promote leftist causes.” Carano will be producing and starring in her own film.

After being dumped by Disney and canceled by public opinion, Gina Carano has seemingly been given a voice on a separate platform and has a newfound passion for opposing cancel culture. She called this opportunity the “answer to her prayers.” Despite being canceled, it sounds as though Carano feels like she came out of this better than when she entered the entertainment industry. As an MMA fighter turned actress turned “free speech warrior,”  Gina Carano was welcomed among several conservatives as an ally.

Carano's story demonstrates the overarching illegitimacy of cancel culture. Not to say that it isn’t real, or that it shouldn’t be real, but that in some cases, “cancel culture” operates as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Public figures think they are canceled, so they disappear from the media and don’t want to return (for understandable reasons). If you don’t articulate a well-thought-out apology or speak up for yourself if the accusations are false (or if you feel the backlash to be unjust), of course people will be hostile. However, Carano chose the latter, and it worked in her favor. 

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Whether you like Gina Carano or feel she deserves to be canceled, there is definitely some truth to her statement: “they can’t cancel us if we don’t let them.” There is a tribe waiting with open arms for those who refuse to back down, so maybe we need to rethink how we handle trials in the court of public opinion.

Sources: 1, 23