Since being fired from The Mandalorian following controversial social media posts, Gina Carano has joined forces with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, whose Daily Wire will develop and produce a film with the dismissed star. First up, however, is a sit-down interview for The Ben Shapiro Show in which Carano speaks out about her exit — “the #FireGianCarano hashtag worked” — the backlash her tweets have received and why she feels she was treated differently than co-stars like Pedro Pascal.
Released on Sunday, the hour-long interview saw Shapiro welcome Carano as “part of the family now” before inviting her to explain what prompted her to tweet about sensitive issues ranging from pandemic shutdowns to voter fraud allegations to the pronouns people use to identify themselves.
“I’m not like you, I’ve never really been interested in politics,” Carano told him. “And then as soon as I started seeing things happening, I guess in 2020, I started looking up, ‘Well maybe the adults don’t have it under control? And maybe I’m an adult now, and maybe I have a responsibility to pay attention.'”
She added that she was “really upset” by the shutdowns being implemented as COVID-19 spread, telling Shapiro, “I know the depression that comes with not working because my job has been on and off its entire life.” But her first real social media “problem,” she shared, was over pronoun usage. After the actress, who played Cara Dune on the Disney+ series The Mandalorian, “beep-bop-boop” in her Twitter bio last September, she was met with what she called a “crazy meltdown.” Though people took her bio as a dig at the transgender community, she insists that wasn’t the case.
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“It was 100 percent to go to the Twitter mob that was telling you what to do, and it had zero to do with trying to go after the transgender community, because I would never do that,” she told Shapiro. “Just me personally, I’m not trying to target anybody or go after anybody.”
Carano said she was overwhelmed by the resulting outcry. “It was just a big massive meltdown. All of the fear and all of the stuff goes straight through your skin, like, woah, what is happening? ‘I told you I didn’t mean this towards this community. You’re misunderstanding it.’ And it was just a shockwave went through my body. Like, oh this is what this feels like, this is uncomfortable.”
She added that while a publicist urged her to issue an apology, she opted to write her own statement clarifying her intent because “I’ve also been watching celebrities apologizing left and right, and it’s very ingenuine [sic].” But her statement was deemed “not apologetic enough,” which Carano called “shocking.”
Carano also met with LGBTQ representatives for Disney, who she claims told the company it would be a “bad idea” if she was punished over the issue.
“I don’t have any hate in my heart for anyone, I stepped in a landmine,” she told Shapiro of the response to her bio. But her bosses at Lucasfilm, which is owned by Disney, did want her to take the matter seriously.
“I think they thought I was already taking too much attention off of The Mandalorian, which was not my intention because I know how hard everybody works on it,” she said.
But she balked when she was asked to meet over Zoom with a large group of representatives from the LGBTQ community, noting that some Lucasfilm employees were “railing me” on social media and calling her “ignorant.”
“All your employees are slandering the hell out of me right now,” she said. “You think I want to get on a video where they can then film it? I felt very insecure about that.”
Carano told Shapiro that the group meeting felt like an ambush and “a bit abusive,” saying, “I don’t feel like I really deserve this.” She instead suggested meeting with just four or five people instead for dinner, so she could have a “genuine conversation” about the issue.
Carano did also meet with a media trainer who she joked “was ready to hate me, I think.” Ultimately, they had a “great conversation” in which the media expert explained to the actress that she had offered a “logical answer to an emotional response,” and that she needed to make a more “emotional” statement to satisfy everyone.
Carano again faced fallout in November after retweeting comments supporting unfounded allegations of voter fraud. Carano told Shapiro that she was motivated by her experience as a first-time voter and her confusion over being allowed to vote without being asked for ID.
“I feel like there’s a lot of outrage about this, and this is confusing to me as a newcomer to this,” she said of joining the debate, which she felt would help clear up confusion and mistrust about the election and allow the country to “move on.”
She also defended a meme she shared urging people to take the mask over their eyes with regards to the pandemic. Again, she pointed to “confusion” over ever-evolving COVID-19 guidance, which she called “all over the place.” The post was also intended to challenge political leaders whose actions were at odds with their restrictions.
“I live in California and I see the hypocrisy that’s been happening, like [Gov. Gavin Newsom] going to [restaurant] The French Laundry, and they don’t have masks on,” she told Shapiro. “There’s been so much hypocrisy and they have those little edited videos where you can see the Democrat leaders completely [being] hypocrites. This is like, Hypocrisy 2020.
“I thought this was a good way to convey that we need to start paying attention to the hypocrisy. For me, it was just like, open your eyes.”
The social media post that seemed to spur Carano’s firing was a since-deleted Instagram meme about the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany. Carano was accused of anti-Semitism for appearing to compare that treatment to that of modern-day conservatives, which she denies.
“When I posted that, it wasn’t something I felt like was controversial,” she explained, adding, “I am so inspired by the gentle spirit of the Jewish people going through that time.”
“It was something I thought, ‘Well, maybe all of us need to ask ourselves, how did that happen?’ because it’s important. The post never said anything about Republicans or conservatives. It doesn’t say anything about that in there. It was more about, you know, people tearing each other apart.
“And I thought it would be more of a thing that would bring people together,” she laughed. “I was like, ‘Oh, this [will] bring people together.’ But now after hearing so much, I actually have grown through the experience of [realizing] it’s not fair to the Jewish community to just throw this out here so much. When you say the word ‘Nazi’ and when you call someone a ‘Nazi’ you need to have a little bit more respect on it. So, I understand that. But it was in no way my intention… I’ve got every big publication saying, ‘She’s comparing conservatives and Republicans to this’ and that’s not what I was doing.”
Shapiro, who practices Orthodox Judaism, said her post was “obviously not anti-Semitic” and argued that Disney was fine with actors invoking the Holocaust so long as they were politically liberal. He cited Carano’s Mandalorian co-star Pedro Pascal, who previously likened the treatment of Jews to the treatment of migrant children at the border.
Carano defended her friend but agreed with Shapiro that a “double standard” was at play.
“There has been,” she said. “They’ve been all over me, and they’ve been watching me like a hawk. And I’m watching other people on the same production, they can say everything they want. And that’s where I had a problem. I had a problem because I wasn’t going along with the narrative, and you know what? I adore Pedro. I adore him.”
She added that she and Pascal disagree on their respective social media posts, but have maintained their friendship.
“I know he’s said some hurtful things … but there’s so much love there still,” she continued. “We had an agreement after we realized we were a little bit politically different. First and foremost, you’re a human being. You’re my friend first. And the two sides that are trying to drag us apart because we’re both passionate — that’s what’s been really crazy, you see these people over here being so passionate, you see people over here being so passionate, and I love it. We’re just both passionate and we think a little differently I think through our different experiences. I know that we both misstepped on our tweets. We’re not perfect; we’re human beings. But he’s not a bad human being; he’s a sweet person.”
Carano spoke out against bullying throughout the interview.
“I’m still very fresh to this political spectrum,” she said. “I mean, I have love for everyone. I’m not a hateful person. In fact, I go out of my way, and I have gone out of my way, my entire life, not to be a hateful person. And yeah, I’ve fought in the ring and I do have hot blood. But it’s usually hot blood when it deals with people being bullied.
“When I saw people being bullied, that were silenced and scared to speak… I don’t want to speak, I want to create art. But I have a big problem with bullies, and I have a big problem with — I don’t have a problem with power; I have a huge problem with abuse of power.”
She also claimed that she’s “not the only one that’s been bullied by this company,” cryptically alluding to an anonymous “friend.”
“I could share a story and it would turn things around in the media, but I can’t do that,” she told Shapiro. “It would be selling out a friend that I don’t really have the same views as, but I’m not going to sell out somebody to take the attention off me. If that person says something about how hard I went to bat for that person… it would change things, but everybody’s afraid of losing their job.”
Carano went on to insist that her posts were about sparking debate, not spreading hate.
“If you really go through what I’m posting, I post something because I want people to think.” she said. “And I want to hear what people have to think.
“I’ve been called so much, I’ve been called racist, I’ve been called transphobe, I’ve been called homophobe, I’ve been called now anti-Semitic, and I don’t take those lightly,” she added. “Like, you’re calling me, my soul, the blood that runs through me, you’re calling me that. I’ve blocked so many people. You say that once to me, you’re done. I don’t want to talk to you ever again. I don’t want to see you on my feed. That was a lot of blocking.”
She said she was personally blocking critics one by one because she’s “pissed.”
“You just insulted me, and my heart and my soul,” she said, adding, “My actions have spoken for themselves. And I’m not a perfect human being. I have so much to learn. I am going to make mistakes.”
She also described herself as the person on sets who “people come and cry to” and who steps in when others need someone to stick up for them.
“I’ve stuck up for, like, minorities everywhere,” she said. “I’ve gotten in fistfights, I’ve been in actual fights growing up in Las Vegas because I cannot stand bullying. I just wanted people to think and I put up something and people are putting their own perspective and spin on it and then they put words into my mouth that I never say, and then it starts trending in all these big newspapers and news articles and you’re like, ‘Do you know me?’ Like, get to know me. I told transgender people, ‘Let’s talk.’ I’ll look you in your eyes. You’re not going to feel hate. I promise you.”
She credited Shapiro with helping her find her “new political voice.” In a statement issued last week about their new film venture, she vowed “they can’t cancel us if we don’t let them.”
“I was prepared to, at any point, get let go,” she told Shapiro. “I have seen this happen to so many people. I’ve seen the looks on their faces. I’ve seen the bullying that takes place. They’ve quit Twitter, they’ve quit speaking, they show up to their red carpets and they’re depressed and they’re sad and there are hardened hearts there. I was like, you’re coming for me, I know you are. They’re making it very obvious through their employees that were coming for me. And so I was like, I’m going to go down swinging then, and I’m going to stay true to myself… “
While she admitted that the firing had taken a toll, she told Shapiro that she’s determined to stand her ground.
“My body still is shaking,” she said. “It’s still devastating. But the thought of this happening to anybody else, especially somebody who could not handle this the way I can? No — they don’t get to do that. They don’t get to make people feel like that. And if I buckle, then little girls and little boys — who are not getting a fair shake at growing up right now — if I buckle, it’s going to make it OK for these companies who have a history of lying, to be lying and do this to other people. And they’ve done it to other people. And I’m not going down without a fight.”