[EDITORIAL] Cancel Culture in its most basic form is nothing new. Wikipedia gives a great definition of the phenomenon, defining it as a type “of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – either online on social media, in the real world, or both.” Narrowing that definition, dictionary.com describes it as the “practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.” Why bring this up? Because right now there is an uproarious “Cancel Culture” outcry in the Star Wars fandom over Gina Carano. When you look at the fandom’s history though, such claims are ironic at best. Look closer, and the outrage over Carano’s departure is both disingenuous, and hypocritical.
Disney and Lucasfilm, as we know, recently parted ways with the Mandalorian actress. We’re not going to debate the merits of the studio’s reasoning, or of Carano’s response. For the purposes of this discussion, it’s the reaction of the Star Wars fandom that’s at issue. Fans claiming the situation to be just another an example of Cancel Culture make me wonder if they’ve ever read the two definitions above, or understand them. That’s especially true upon closer examination of the fandom’s long, ugly history with cancellation.
Star Wars Fandom And Cancel Culture
When it comes to the Star Wars fandom, its culture of cancellation goes back decades. Jake Lloyd, a child at the time he portrayed Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace, barely ever worked in Hollywood again. Ahmed Best contemplated suicide after some fans tried to “cancel” him for his role of Jar Jar Binks. Most recently, however, parts of the fandom again fully embraced Cancel Culture when it came to the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
The Last Jedi was the most divisive film in Star Wars history. So much so that fans sought to “cancel” the film by erasing it from the proverbial archives. Yes, they literally petitioned to have it removed from canon and to ban Rian Johnson from ever touching Star Wars again. There were even fan remakes. Further, rage-filled factions of the Star Wars fandom loathe Kathleen Kennedy. They’ve vocally called for Kennedy’s ouster as Lucasfilm President. Yet, in the same breath, many of those same fans audaciously scream “Cancel Culture” at the top of their lungs over Disney parting ways with Carano… without a hint of irony.
No, Gina Carano Was Not Cancelled
No matter how you break it down, Disney and Carano parted ways over ideological differences and social media behaviors. The studio felt that Carano’s actions weren’t representative of the company. This is an employer/employee dispute. Period. It’s the same as you would see if anyone else violated the terms of their employment agreement with any other employer. This case just happens to be a dispute between a high-profile employer, and high-profile employee. Yet some in the Star Wars fandom claim that Cancel Culture is to blame.
The fact Disney doesn’t want to work with Gina Carano doesn’t mean she’s been cancelled. Need proof of that? Look no further than Miley Cyrus. The singer and actress went on to become a multi-million dollar industry in her own right after Disney similarly parted ways with her. Still, parts of the Star Wars fandom cry cancellation. The saddest part is this – in response to the Carano situation, those so-called fans are LITERALLY cancelling their Disney+ subscriptions, “withdrawing their support” of Disney “after they have done or said something considered objectionable.”
There’s no clearer example of Cancel Culture than that, and they’re doing it, again, oblivious to their own hypocrisy. They are utterly and completely guilty of doing exactly that which they accuse Disney of doing. They’re also doing it in ignorance of the fandom’s long-standing and most recent history of attempting to cancel that with which they don’t agree. Don’t like Rian Johnson? Ban him forever! Kathleen Kennedy? Get rid of her! All apparently perfectly acceptable. But God forbid Disney fires Gina Carano….
Sorry Star Wars fandom. You don’t get to have it both ways.