New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait has accused Hollywood of engaging in a McCarthy-esque crusade against conservatives after actress Gina Carano was fired from Disney.
Chait weighed in on the controversy in an essay for the Intelligencer in which he argued there was no ‘principled distinction’ between the Hollywood blacklist against communists in the 1950s and Carano’s termination.
The 38-year-old conservative actress was dismissed from her role in The Mandalorian and dropped by her talent agency this week after sharing a social media post comparing the current political climate to the Nazi era.
Carano was accused of antisemitism after she argued that hating people over their political views was hardly different to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany.
New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait (left) said there is no distinction between the Hollywood blacklist in the 1950s and actress Gina Carano’s firing
Carano was fired by Disney after she posted an Instagram story in which she likened the experience of Jews during the Holocaust to the current U.S. political climate. Lucasfilm called the post ‘abhorrent and unacceptable’
Chait, who is Jewish, dismissed the outrage surrounding the post, which he said ‘was not anti-Semitic by any reasonable definition.’
‘The post simply argued (uncontroversially) that the Holocaust grew out of a hate campaign against Jews, which it then likened (controversially) to hatred of fellow Americans for their political views,’ he wrote.
‘I don’t find this post especially insightful. But overheated comparisons to Nazi Germany are quite common, and, more to the point, not anti-Semitic. There is no hint anywhere in this post of sympathy for Nazis or blame for their victims.’
Chait also bemoaned the media’s coverage of the controversy as well as the lack of public criticism towards Disney or Carano’s talent agency for penalizing the actress for sharing such views.
Chait, who is Jewish, also bemoaned the portrayal of the controversy in the media as well as the lack of criticism towards Disney or Carano’s talent agency for taking actions against the actress
Among those who responded to the essay was comedian Kathy Griffin who claimed she was a victim of blacklisting herself
Griffin was famously ostracized in 2017 after she shared a photo of herself holding a severed head of Donald Trump
‘The tone of the reporting simply conveys her posts as though they were a series of petty crimes, the punishment of which is inevitable and self-evidently justified,’ he wrote.
‘The principle that an actor ought to be fired for expressing unsound political views has simply faded into the background.
‘If you think blacklisting is only bad if its targets have sensible views, I have some bad news for you about communism.’
Chait went on to recall the story of blacklisted Hollywood writer Dalton Trumbo, who was investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s for supporting communism.
Trumbo at the time compared the trial against him and fellow communists in the US to an ‘American concentration camp.’
‘Fortunately for Trumbo, his antagonists, unlike Carano’s, were not witless enough to confuse hyperbolic Nazi comparisons with anti-Semitism,’ Chait wrote.
Chait argued that while the Hollywood studios held the right to distance themselves from those who had a ‘abhorrent beliefs’, a ‘fairer and more liberal society is able to create some space between an individual’s political views and the position of their employer.’
‘A Dalton Trumbo ought to have been able to hold onto his screenwriting job even though he supported a murderous dictator like Stalin,’ he said.
‘And actors ought to be able to work even if they support an authoritarian bigot like Donald Trump.’
Her character appeared in several episodes of the second season of ‘The Mandalorian,’ a series about a bounty hunter and his quest to unite a young user of the Force with a Jedi Knight
Pedro Pascal and Gina Carano pictured together in 2019; Disney has been accused of double standards following the firing of Gina Carano after it emerged Mandalorian co-star Pedro Pascal compared ICE administration centers to Nazi concentration camps
Chait’s essay sparked a debate on Twitter Friday after he tweeted: ‘I don’t see any principled distinction between the 50s Hollywood blacklist and what just happened to Gina Carano.’
Critics were quick to point out differences in the two situations and argued that Carano’s firing was well deserved.
Among those who responded to the essay was comedian Kathy Griffin who claimed she was a victim of blacklisting herself.
Griffin was fired from CNN and lost endorsement deals in 2017 after sharing a video of herself holding Donald Trump’s severed head.
‘Jonathan, let me tell you from personal, well documented experience, Gina Carano’s bad week is nothing compared to my actual blacklist experience,’ she wrote.
‘The offenses are vastly different and my consequences are actually in tune with the classic Hollywood blacklist era you reference.’
Carano’s firing drew mixed reactions earlier this week, with some people calling for a boycott against Disney.
Carano, a former MMA fighter, fell under heavy criticism after she posted on Instagram Stories that ‘Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors…. even by children.’
In 2018 Pascal shared these two images. He wrote: ‘#ThisisAmerica’
The post continued: ‘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?’
A spokesperson for Lucasfilm said in a statement on Wednesday that Carano is not currently employed by the production company with ‘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,’ the statement read.
Talent agency UTA has also dropped Carano as a client following the controversy, according to Variety.
Disney on Thursday was accused of double standards over Carano’s firing after it emerged Mandalorian co-star Pedro Pascal compared ICE administration centers to Nazi concentration camps.
But it has since emerged that in 2018 actor Pascal shared an image of Germany 1944 and what he said was America 2018. He wrote: ‘#ThisisAmerica.’
Cancel Disney+ began to trend on Twitter shortly after Carano’s firing with many pointing to Pascal’s comments as evidence of the company’s hypocrisy when dealing with conservative stars.