After news dropped yesterday that Gina Carano was no longer employed by LucasFilm, dashing any hope for a return of her character, Cara Dune, on The Mandalorian, it became just another notch in the belt of “Cancel Culture,” that sultry siren. This came after months of #FireGinaCarano trending on Instagram and Twitter, which was preceded by months of Carano flaunting her hard-right stance on social media. After enduring the wrath of fans, and the threat of being cancelled, she moved her thoughts to Parler, where she hoped to find a more understanding audience. Unfortunately for her, and fans of her work, that wasn’t enough, and Disney announced that her “abhorrent” posts caused them to dissolve the relationship.
Full-disclosure, I am a Gina Carano fan. She was awesome in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, and is able to bring a believable badassery to the female role in action movies that has long been absent. Look, Charlize Theron is arguably the best actress working today, and I truly enjoyed watching her kick the shit out of a gazillion military trained mercenaries in Atomic Blonde, but at the end of the day, the suspension of disbelief detracted from my enjoyment of the film. Knowing that Gina Carano could legitimately murder me and all my friends without blinking, makes watching her acting that much more enjoyable.
Also, full-disclosure, I think Gina Carano’s conspiracy theory fueled rants are absolutely batshit crazy. I disagree with almost everything she “stands for,” but admire her work on-screen. It’s a classic Catch-22. It’s singing along to Thriller, while simultaneously believing the allegations levied against Michael Jackson. It’s definitely a mind-fuck, but the two things can be mutually exclusive.
It’s also possible to believe in freedom of speech, as well as the justice carried out as a result of the consequences of one’s actions. For example, I believe that Colin Kaepernick had the right to kneel during the National Anthem, as a symbol of protest against the police brutality issue we’ve long ignored in this country. I also believe that it was wrong to blackball him from the NFL based on the level of talent he had as a football player. That being said, it’s ignorant to think the NFL is anything other than an extremely successful business that will take whatever measures necessary to preserve their value. Kaepernick knew that, and made the choice to become a martyr. In the same way, though in a completely opposite spectrum of beliefs, Carano knew that her posts could put her out of favor with her fans and her employer. She made an informed choice, and the consequence is she will lose out on a lucrative role, and deprive fans of a truly excellent character to an already splendid show in The Madalorian.
The concept of Cancel Culture is nothing new, and while I generally dislike the concept of keyboard warriors sterilizing the entertainment industry, it is simply the way things work. Eddie Murphy performed one of the most raunchy, over-the-line comedy specials of all time with Raw. As far as stand-up comedy goes, it’s legendary. He also ruled the R-rated box-office for the entirety of the 80s. Then all of a sudden, in the mid-90s, he pivoted and turned out such bland fare as The Nutty Professor and Dr. Doolittle. If Eddie Murphy released a comedy special on par with Raw or Delirious today, he would be cancelled IMMEDIATELY. He made a choice to tone it down. To be more family-friendly. To cater to his audience – his customers. By doing so, he extended his career by three decades, and somehow struck a balance where he gained new fans, and didn’t truly fall out of favor with his old fans.
It can be exhausting to keep up with who we’re supposed to hate or adore these days, but we have to accept that it’s how things work. You don’t have to actively support the campaigns to cancel people that the Internet decides they hate, but just remember when you take the opposing stance, you’re defending someone who most likely made an informed decision. Additionally, they’re only in a position to be cancelled because those same fans supported them in the first place. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. Gina Carano will be missed on The Madalorian, but it’s a good enough show to survive without her character (or replace her with another tough-as-nails actress). I’m sure she’ll be fine. With her newfound martyrdom, she can parlay her misfortune into stardom in the conservative community.
RIP Cara Dune