Gina Carano (Yahoo Finance)

Gina Carano and The Difference Between “Free Speech” and “Hate Speech”

On February 10, 2021, actress and former wrestler Gina Carano was fired by Disney for what critics said was a social media post comparing modern-day conservatives to Jews during the Holocaust.

Although Carano, who played Cara Dune on the wildly popular Disney+ show The Mandalorian, denied that was what she meant, her firing led to a fierce public debate about free speech and “cancel culture. 

Some  Conservatives objected to the firing of Carano, and many embraced her in the wake of her removal.  Ben Shapiro, the popular conservative personality and observant Jew, hired her to star in his forthcoming movie. He and other conservatives claimed that they are being silenced simply for expressing their views.  Liberals argued that Carano’s posts went beyond political beliefs, and were antisemitic. But, what did Carano actually say? 

2020 and 2021 have been contentious years for politics. The 2020 presidential election deepened partisan divides. Many on both sides believe that the other side is intent on oppressing and silencing them. Following this view, Carano took to Instagram to voice her opinions. She posted an image of Nazis chasing a Jewish women, and captioned it with “Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors…even by children. 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.” 

She also made other controversial posts, such as mocking people who wore face masks and saying that “Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.” 

As soon as her followers spotted the post, they took to social media to pressure Disney into firing her. The Twitter hashtag #FireGinaCarano began trending.  

I believe that, yes, the firing of Carano was justified. Disney was correct to take action against her as a result of her Instagram post. What Carano said was antisemitic. First, Carano is comparing the Holocaust to a modern event. Most people avoid comparing tragedies, as it often diminishes the importance of both events. But in Carano’s case, she was not pointing out similarities between the Holocaust and another genocide. Instead, Carano was declaring that Republicans in America are experiencing the same discrimination that Jews faced during the Holocaust. 

This is not only factually incorrect, it is insulting. Republicans are not being forcibly removed from their homes. They are not being rounded up, and separated from their families. Most importantly, no Republican in America is being sent to the gas chamber or shot in a field because of their political opinions. It is laughable to attempt to make such a comparison. But, it is also antisemitic, because it diminishes the importance of the Holocaust. It drags it down to being compared with the trivial “prejudices” that conservatives say they  face. 

Furthermore, Carano acts as though the Holocaust is not being properly taught in schools. While it is true that Holocaust education is lacking in some states, she is woefully misinformed to say it is not sufficient because it does not support her political perspective. Carano is twisting an actual issue so that she can support her opinion. By distorting Jewish issues, she is using Jewish suffering for political purposes. In short, Carano was fired for antisemitism. 

Of course, people want to preserve free speech. But Carano was spreading hate speech. This is entirely different. Disney is a private company, and they were within their legal rights to fire Carano, as her posts obviously damaged their brand. 

Antisemitism is unacceptable, regardless whether it comes from a Republican or a Democrat. Republican Jews should not advocate for hate speech to be protected. Carano’s rights were not infringed upon. She made an antisemitic post, and faced the consequences. Free speech does not exempt you from the fallout of posting something discriminatory. Jews should never protect someone who perpetuates hatred against us, regardless of their political leanings.

Madison Tomaso is a homeschooled junior from Georgia. ​She is a Staff Writer for Fresh Ink for Teens.

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