The 41-year-old actor and former MMA fighter was fired from the Disney+ Star Wars spin-off series The Mandalorian in February 2021 after she shared a social media post comparing the Republican experience in the US to that of Jewish people during the Holocaust.
Carano played the special forces warrior character Cara Dune opposite Pedro Pascal’s titular Mandalorian.
On Tuesday (6 February), Carano filed a complaint in California federal court accusing the entertainment companies of damaging her reputation and discriminating based on her gender.
The Independent has contacted Disney and Lucasfilm for comment.
“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,” the complaint, seen by The Independent, begins, with a nod to the Star Wars franchise’s language.
Delivering on his 2023 promise to fund the legal bills of any user “unfairly treated” by an employer for their activity on X, Musk’s social media company is helping to foot Carano’s legal bill.
She is seeking a court order that would force Lucasfilm to recast her and at least $75,000, plus punitive damages.
“In addition to terminating her, Defendants refused to hire her for roles already promised, including but not limited to Season 3 of The Mandalorian, the new series Rangers of the New Republic, and planned future Stars Wars full length feature films (which have recently been announced) – all because of her political beliefs and in disparate treatment from her male co-workers,” the complaint asserts.
“Defendants also discriminated against Carano by treating her differently from her male co-stars who also made public, political statements on social media,” her suit says. “Her male co-stars were not disciplined, let alone terminated in a way to destroy their careers even though some would find their statements ‘abhorrent.’”
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Carano added: “Some of us have been unjustly singled out, harassed, persecuted and had our livelihoods stripped away because we dared to encourage conversation, asked questions, and refused to go along with the mob.”
On X funding the suit, she said: “I am honored that my case has been chosen to be supported by the company that has been one of the last glimmers of hope for free speech in the world.”
In a statement of its own, X’s head of business operations Joe Benarroch said: “As a sign of X Corp’s commitment to free speech, we’re proud to provide financial support for Gina Carano’s lawsuit, empowering her to seek vindication of her free speech rights on X and the ability to work without bullying, harassment, or discrimination.”
Disney’s decision to remove Carano from The Mandalorian was welcomed by many fans at the time who had previously campaigned for Carano’s dismissal due to her history of sharing controversial tweets.
In its 2021 statement, LucasFilm described Carnano’s social media activity as “abhorrent and unacceptable”.
Carano later spoke out in an interview with right-leaning website The Daily Wire, where she said that she felt she had been “head-hunted” by Disney because she “wasn’t going along with the narrative”.
“I was prepared at any point to be let go, because I’ve seen this happen to so many people. They don’t get to make people feel like that ... and if I buckle, it’ll make it okay for these companies, who have a history of lying, to be lying and to do this to other people ... and I’m not going down without a fight.”
Following the news, fans of Carano called for a boycott of Disney’s streaming service using the hashtag #CancelDisneyPlus. However, the request was largely mocked online.