The Walt Disney Company does not have a “blacklist” for conservatives and is neither “left-leaning or right-leaning”, its chief executive has said.
It comes amid accusations of cancel culture in the entertainment industry which resurfaced in February after actress Gina Carano left her role as warrior Cara Dune in Star Wars spin-off series, The Mandalorian.
LucasFilm, the Disney Studios subsidiary behind the Stars Wars franchise, said the 38-year-old star was responsible for “abhorrent and unacceptable” social media posts after she reportedly referenced the Nazis’ treatment of Jewish people while discussing political differences in the US now.
The hashtag #FireGinaCarano had trended on Twitter as a result of her reported social media posts.
It then emerged that Pedro Pascal, the titular star of the series, had also used the Holocaust to make a political point – reportedly comparing children in cages at the US southern border to Jews in concentration camps in 2018 – but kept his job.
In a statement released following Carano’s departure, Lucasfilm said: “Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are 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.”
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Addressing the issue of political bias during an annual shareholder meeting, Disney boss Bob Chapek said the company is not “left-leaning or right-leaning” but stands “for values that are universal: values of respect, values of decency, values of integrity and values of inclusion”, when asked if it had a “blacklist”.
He added: “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.”
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Mr Chapek also announced during the meeting that the Disney+ streaming service has surpassed 100 million global paid subscribers, 16 months after its launch.
Main rival Netflix had more than 203 million subscribers as of January.
Former MMA star Carano, who was a fan favourite on The Mandalorian, has since announced she is working on a new film project with conservative media company The Daily Wire.