Disney Files Motion to Dismiss Gina Carano’s Lawsuit Stating They Have ‘Constitutional Right’ Not to Associate With Her After Holocaust Post

Shannen Ace

Gina Carano as Cara Dune

Disney Files Motion to Dismiss Gina Carano’s Lawsuit Stating They Have ‘Constitutional Right’ Not to Associate With Her After Holocaust Post

Disney filed a motion on Tuesday to dismiss Gina Carano’s lawsuit regarding her firing from “The Mandalorian.”

Gina Carano v. Disney

Gina Carano as Cara Dune in "The Mandalorian" on Disney+.

Disney argues in their lawsuit that they had a First Amendment right to fire Carano after she compared disliking someone’s political views to the Holocaust.

Disney makes this motion on the grounds that Disney has a constitutional right not to associate its artistic expression with Carano’s speech, such that the First Amendment provides a complete defense to Carano’s claims.

Motion to Dismiss

Disney’s motion mentions various actions by Carano that drew criticism, including objecting to COVID-19-related closures and vaccines, questioning the 2020 election, and mocking transgender people. In her lawsuit, Carano stated Disney made her have a 90-minute Zoom meeting with GLAAD representatives regarding her social media posts.

The Holocaust comparison was “the final straw” for Disney, however. Carano’s February 2021 post read, “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?”

Carano’s decision to publicly trivialize the Holocaust by comparing criticism of political conservatives to the annihilation of millions of Jewish people — notably, not “thousands” — was the final straw for Disney.

Motion to Dismiss

Disney fired Carano, who portrayed bounty hunter Cara Dune in “The Mandalorian,” the same day she made the post. Disney and Lucasfilm released a statement day announcing Carano’s firing and calling her comments “abhorrent and unacceptable.”

The motion references Bob Chapek’s (then-CEO of Disney) statement about Gina Carano’s firing. He said her comments “didn’t align with Company values,” including its “values of respect, values of decency, values of integrity, and values of inclusion.”

Gina Carano filed her lawsuit in February 2024 with financial backing from Elon Musk. It cites a California law prohibiting employers from retaliating against employees for political activity.

Disney argues that there is an exception for companies whose business is to engage in speech. They quote one of Gina Carano’s attorneys, Eugene Volokh, who wrote in a 2022 article that “requiring an artistic organization to hire as its speakers people who are associated with [a controversial political] position will undermine its ability to send the particular aesthetic or artistic message that it wants to send,” because “hearing even neutral artistic material from someone who has become well-known for political views may make that material seem ideologically laden, or at least may significantly distract from the artistic message.”

Employers that speak must necessarily speak through their employees; and when an employee or prospective employee says things, even off the job, that would undermine the employer’s message, the employer must be able to distance itself from the employee.

Eugene Volokh

Disney also cited Supreme Court cases Boy Scouts of America v. Dale and Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston. In both cases, the court held that the organizations could not be forced to associate with gay rights supporters.

Disney thus was entitled to protect its creative speech in the ‘Star Wars’ series from association with views Disney and many viewers (and potential viewers) considered offensive and contrary to Disney’s values. Carano’s presence as a prominent actor on ‘The Mandalorian’ interfered with Disney’s choice not to produce a show associated with her beliefs.

Motion to Dismiss

Disney also responded to Gina Carano alleging discrimination for being a woman. In her suit, she pointed out that male actors Pedro Pascal and Mark Hamill were not fired after comparing Donald Trump and supporters to Nazis in social media posts.

Disney states in the motion, “The First Amendment protects Disney’s decision to dissociate itself from some speech but not from other, different speech. The First Amendment mandates deference to the speaker’s own decisions about what speech to associate with, even if others might consider those decisions ‘internally inconsistent’… Carano thus cannot stake out a discrimination claim by alleging that Disney accorded different treatment to different statements by different actors.”

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