Journalists cheer female empowerment … with one big exception.
Sites like The Hollywood Reporter routinely promote female stars, couching their coverage with talk of talent, courage and resilience.
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If the woman in question is a conservative, or even leans in that direction, they’re suddenly less invested in her empowerment journey.
We saw that as reporters looked the other way while Sacha Baron Cohen, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert mocked First Lady Melania Trump in ways that wouldn’t be acceptable had she been married to a Democrat.
The same pattern emerged following Gina Carano’s firing from “The Mandalorian.” Carano’s “thought crimes,” which triggered the dismissal, were nothing of the kind. They reflected a contrarian, right-leaning perspective.
That proved her undoing.
This week, the new Disney CEO had to face a direct question over Carano’s dismissal.
Members from the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) took part in Disney’s March 9 virtual 2021 annual shareholders’ meeting. David Almasi, the group’s vice president of the National Center, asked new Disney CEO Bob Chapek a tough question during his time to speak.
“It’s clear there’s a new blacklist punishing conservatives in the entertainment industry,” Almasi said. “Disney+ actors Pedro Pascal and Gina Carano tweeted similar analogies of current political events to Nazi Germany, yet only Carano, who is considered conservative, was fired from ‘The Mandalorian.’ Disney and the blacklist: This is the way?”
“I don’t really see Disney as characterizing itself as left-leaning or right-leaning, yet instead standing for values, values that are universal,” Chapek answered, a response that directly contradicts a recent survey showing the public thinks Disney is an overtly liberal body. “I think that’s a world we all should live in, in harmony and peace.”
Chapek didn’t answer the question.
He technically can’t without sharing a truth Disney is eager to hide for pragmatic reasons. The honest answer is simple -- the only reason Carano lost her gig and Pascal still has his is due to politics. Carano appears to lean right while Pascal is obviously a liberal.
Pascal proved the latter by comparing Trump fans to members of the Nazi party on social media. That’s demonstrably worse than what Carano shared on Instagram. Her message warned about the dehumanizing tactics employed in Nazi Germany against Jews, worrying something similar could happen in modern times.
“You cannot be a champion of diversity and inclusion while you actively discriminate against Americans purely on the basis of viewpoint and political participation,” FEP Deputy Director Scott Shepard, who also participated in the virtual meeting, said in a statement following the event. “Joe McCarthy would be very proud of Disney CEO Bob Chapek and former CEO Bob Iger, but that’s hardly something that Disney would wish to tout. The great irony is that their actions are demonstrating that Gina Carano’s concerns were entirely justified. That’s also the great evil.”
The same journalists who misconstrued Carano’s social media messages when her firing happened also reported on Chapek’s comments without noting the obvious comparison between her words and those shared by Pascal.
In a way, Chapek got off easily during the virtual exchange.
FEP’s next prepared question, which couldn’t be asked due to time constraints, involved the company’s ties to China. Specifically, the group meant Disney working with the Chinese government to shoot “Mulan” near concentration camps “where Uyghur Muslims are being systemically abused,” as the prepared question describes it.
Disney’s hypocrisy is just as bad when one looks at the bigger picture.
The company just hired Bette Midler to shoot a “Hocus Pocus” sequel for Disney+. The veteran star’s social media messages are chock full of hate and borderline racist Tweets.
Just one example: She’s repeatedly applauded the man who savagely attacked Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican.
The upcoming “What If” Marvel series features Jeffrey Wright, an actor who compared Trump supporters and gun rights advocates to KKK members. Wright also issued a not-so-veiled threat to Republicans in 2019, warning if the Democrats retake the White House “everybody else” should “bleeping duck.”
Actress Amber Tamblyn, set to star in the upcoming Disney+ series “Y: The Last Man,” slammed radio legend Rush Limbaugh hours after his passing with this note: “Rot in Purgatory.”
Mark Hamill, who recently appeared with a dash of CGI magic in “The Mandalorian,” once mocked members of the First Family, including a three-year-old child, on Twitter.
Do these stars reflect the values Disney holds dear?
Chapek can’t answer that question honestly, and chances are he never will. Why? Journalists won’t grill him on it. They either acknowledge Disney’s glaring double standard and choose to ignore it, or are silently cheering it on.