Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek is weighing in on allegations that Gina Carano was ousted from “The Mandalorian” due to her political beliefs.
Chapek’s comment came Tuesday during the company’s annual shareholders meeting, where, according to a preliminary transcript by S&P Global Market Intelligence, a shareholder asked him about Carano and a “new blacklist punishing conservatives in the entertainment industry.”
On Feb. 10, Carano received backlash for a series of incendiary social media posts and memes mentioning Jeffrey Epstein and appearing to compare conservatives in the U.S. to Holocaust victims. Lucasfilm later confirmed to USA TODAY that Carano would no longer star in the Disney+ series and denounced her posts as denigrating people’s cultural and religious identities.
During a Q&A portion of Tuesday’s meeting, the shareholder said Carano and her “Mandalorian” co-star Pedro Pascal have shared “similar analogies” on social media, yet Pascal still has his role while Carano does not. In 2018, Pascal tweeted an image on the other side of the political spectrum that seemed to compare the detention of migrants at the U.S. border to concentration camps.
In his reply, Chapek said he doesn’t consider Disney to have any political bias.
“I don’t really see Disney as characterizing itself as left leaning or right leaning, (but) instead standing for values, values that are universal, values of respect, values of decency, values of integrity and values of inclusion,” he said. “And we seek to have not only how we operate, but the content that we make reflective of the rich diversity of the world that we live in. And I think that’s a world that we all should live in, in harmony and peace.”
USA TODAY has reached out to Disney for further comment.
Gina Carano says Disney ‘bullied’ her after controversial posts: ‘I’m going to go down swinging’
In her first sit-down interview since the controversy, Carano maintained to conservative commentator Ben Shapiro that she did no wrong.
“I was prepared at any point to be let go, because I’ve seen this happen to so many people,” Carano said on “The Ben Shapiro Show” on Feb. 21. “I’ve seen the looks on their faces. I’ve seen the bullying that takes place, and so when this started, they point their guns at you, and you know it’s only a matter of time…And so I was like, ‘I’m going to go down swinging, and I’m going to stay true to myself.’ “
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Carano added she did not feel the post was controversial.
“The post never said anything about Republicans or conservatives. It was more about people tearing each other apart,” she said. “I’ve got every single big publication saying, ‘She’s comparing conservatives and Republicans to this’ and that’s not really what I was doing… I have love for everyone. I’m not a hateful person.”
The Daily Wire, which Shapiro co-founded, announced earlier in February that Carano would partner with the news site to produce and star in an upcoming film.
“This is just the beginning,” Carano wrote on Twitter at the time. “Welcome to the rebellion.”
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Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff