Move over Gondor, there’s a new LOLsuit franchise in town, and it’s promising some big-budget crazytimes. Yesterday former Mandalorian actress Gina Carano sued Disney for wrongful termination and sex discrimination. And professional shitposter Elon Musk is footing the legal bill.
Abusive litigation is Musk’s new hobby, and it’s an expensive one, even by his standards. The Delaware Court of Chancery already forced him to pay $44 billion for Twitter, and it recently voided his $55 billion pay package from Tesla. Nevertheless, in August, he offered to fund lawsuits for plaintiffs who “were unfairly treated by your employer due to posting or liking something on this platform.”
“And we won’t just sue, it will be extremely loud and we will go after the boards of directors of the companies too,” he added.
Because once you’ve burned through $20 billion, why not spend a little more to harass people who piss you off. And among the many people who piss off Musk, Disney CEO Bob Iger is way up there.
In November, after Musk went on yet another antisemitic tirade, Disney was one of many companies which pulled its ads from Twitter.
“Go fuck yourself,” he pouted onstage in December, when asked about the advertiser boycott at The New York Times DealBook Summit.
On Twitter, he accused Iger of placing the company’s ads “next to child exploitation material” and demanded his firing, adding, “Walt Disney is turning in his grave over what Bob has done to his company.”
Clearly Musk would love to Gawker the entertainment behemoth out of existence, and so it was probably inevitable that he’d wind up backing Gina Carano, a former MMA fighter, was nixed from the Star Wars spinoff in 2021 after a series of inflammatory social media posts.
“Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future. Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable,” Lucasfilm announced in February of that year after Carano’s posts likening American conservatives to Jews in Nazi Germany, bashing trans people, and pushing election fraud conspiracies.
Carano went on to become a rightwing media celebrity and a culture warrior, if not a celestial one. In 2022, after blowing up production on a Hollywood movie over mask and vaccine mandates, she went on to produce a Western film entitled “Terror on the Prairie” for the conservative ragemongers at The Daily Wire.
But with Musk’s help, Carano is clawing her way back to the spotlight — if only for the duration of a single news cycle as we all point and laugh at this appalling brief:
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. 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. 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.
Defendants’ wrath over their employees’ social media posts also differed depending on sex. Even though “the Force is female,” Defendants chose to target a woman while looking the other way when it came to men. While Carano was fired, Defendants took no action against male actors who took equally or more vigorous and controversial positions on social media.
But the rule of law still reigns over the Defendants’ empire. And Carano has returned to demand that they be held accountable for their bullying, discriminatory, and retaliatory actions—actions that inflicted not only substantial emotional harm, but millions of dollars in lost income.
Carano alleges that in late 2020, she was initially offered a recurring role in another spinoff, but that the offer was rescinded “because of her political beliefs and in disparate treatment from her male co-workers.”
In support of this claim, Carano attaches a bunch of mean tweets, demonstrating that her association with the brand was indeed provoking a severe backlash, alongside posts from male co-stars which did not provoke a backlash from their employer.
As for the law, the case is a bit of a muddle. It’s framed as a defamation suit, with multiple references to supposedly false statements Disney and Lucasfilm made about her. But the causes of action are labor disputes. Specifically, Carano claims a violation of California’s ban on employers “controlling or directing, or tending to control or direct the political activities or affiliations of employees.”
Under this theory of the case, offensive tweets are political activity, and if Lucasfilm didn’t fire Mark Hamill or Pedro Pascal for pro-trans tweets, it can’t fire Carano for anti-trans messages.
All of which is cool, but not how any of this shit works. And look, the facts and the law aren’t usually a bar for Musk’s litigation. But he has recently been trying to up his odds by filing in Texas or venues more hospitable to his nuttier legal theories. This case is filed in the Central District of California, which is perhaps not the ideal venue to make the claim that Hollywood has to keep hiring you no matter what kind of hateful shit you post on social media.
Anyway, Gina Carana can have money now, please? And maybe specific performance?
Carano v. The Walt Disney Company [Docket via Court Listener]
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she produces the Law and Chaos substack and podcast.