These days, we know more about the inner lives of celebrities than we ever have before. Found in old tweets, DMs and Instagram lives are moments that can be hilarious (see Senator Jon Ossoff’s recently resurfaced Star Wars fanboy tweets) or absolutely damning, as the recent Twitter behaviour of The Mandalorian’s Gina Carano has been.
For context, Carano has created controversy surrounding her political and personal views. Some of the earlier controversies are summed up in this article from The Mary Sue. More recently, she was called out for liking tweets supporting the domestic terrorists who stormed the American Capitol building. Understandably, a lot of fans aren’t comfortable with Carano continuing to act in Disney’s The Mandalorian, in which she plays an anti-fascist character.
Her character, Cara Dune, should be the kind of person that young people can look up to, as a strong woman fighting fascist oppressors with her cool band of friends. She should be a fan favourite. For those who believe in separating the actor from the character in their minds, she is.
But for many people, it isn’t an easy thing to separate. Carano’s role on the show has given her a platform to spread hate, and her continued role on the show has shown Disney’s complicity in providing that platform. It can also be difficult to watch a show when you know that one of its cast actively hates you or a group of people you care about. As a member of the queer community, I’m extremely uncomfortable seeing her onscreen, knowing how she feels about my trans loved ones. I can’t even imagine how it must feel for them.
So the question stands: should the role of Cara Dune (and any character played by a problematic actor) be recast? The answer should be, unequivocally, yes.
Free speech does not protect you from backlash, and supporting violent domestic terrorists who invaded a government building should warrant backlash. In order to fight back against extreme right-wing beliefs, and against bigotry, we need to make it clear that those things are unacceptable in our society. That isn’t silencing, it’s deplatforming.
People might ask where to draw the line, but when did we let the line move so far in one direction? Why should Star Wars actor John Boyega have to worry about his career after attending and speaking at Black Lives Matter protests and standing up for human rights, but Gina Carano doesn’t need to worry about her job after supporting rioters who may have planned to assassinate government officials?
Even if Carano hadn’t shown support for those who stormed the American Capitol Building, the bigotry on Twitter should be enough to make her lose her role on The Mandalorian. Just like the allegations that her co-star, Rosario Dawson, assaulted a trans man should move Disney to reconsider having Dawson continue to play fan-favourite Ahsoka Tano in an upcoming spinoff series.
Not doing so highlights the hypocrisy in the statements Disney has made in support of diversity and inclusivity, against those who attacked the American Capitol Building, and in promising to “bring about real change.”
I think it’s about time they turned their promises into action.