The Hollywood blacklist is back, baby. Actress Gina Carano lost her role as co-star of the Disney + series “The Mandalorian” this week. Your crime? Rash social media posts, including one that compared hatred of conservatives to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany. They had previously targeted online mobs for outré comments on wearing masks, the fad of the “preferred pronoun” and fraud in the 2020 election. #FireGinaCarano im Trend and Lucasfilm Ltd., the Disney subsidiary that produces the spin-off “Star Wars”, have a predictable obligation. In today’s model of personal scorched earth destruction, the United Talent Agency also fired Ms. Carano.
The film and television industries have come a long way when it comes to blacklisting. During the McCarthy era, Director Elia Kazan gave the House Un-American Activities Committee the names of show business colleagues he knew were Communist Party members. Others who refused to give names were blacklisted by the studios and refused to work.
For decades, the Hollywood Bien-Pensant considered the blacklist to be an unforgivable stain in the industry. In 1999, some of the industry’s biggest stars were sitting on their hands when Kazan received an honorary Oscar. “Trumbo” director Jay Roach lamented in 2015 that those blacklisted were “somehow viewed as traitors for having different political views”.
In his review of Guilty By Suspicion, a 1991 blacklisted film starring Robert De Niro, Roger Ebert wrote: “History has confirmed those who have refused to reveal their principles, but how would any of us have then responded – when to oppose [HUAC] did virtual unemployment mean in show business? “
Good question. I am not defending Gina Carano’s posts, although they are probably defensible. I defend the principle. If it is wrong for someone to lose their job because they are a communist, it is wrong for someone to lose their job because they are conservative.