Culture

Democrat Smears Gina Carano as a 'Nazi.' Should Carano Sue?

This Oct. 19, 2019 photo shows Gina Carano at the Disney Plus launch event promoting "The Mandalorian" at the London West Hollywood hotel in West Hollywood, Calif. The ambitious eight episode show with the budget of a feature film is one of the marquee offerings of the Walt Disney Co.’s new streaming service, Disney Plus, which launches Nov. 12. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/Invision/AP)

Actress Gina Carano lost her job with Disney’s The Mandalorian for warning against the Nazi-like dehumanization of others and the awful places that can lead.

Former Democrat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp recently smeared Carano as both a “Nazi” and as someone who hangs around “white supremacists” during a segment on Bill Maher’s Real Time show.

Carano noticed, and called Heitkamp out on Twitter.

Democrats have been getting away with such smears for years now, decades. They’ve called all Republican presidents in my lifetime either Nazis or racists or some variation on that theme, including Ronald Reagan and both Bushes. While dishonest and despicable, those insults targeted political figures. They’re inexcusable but probably not actionable.

Carano is a private citizen, here being targeted on national television by a former Democrat senator after she lost a job due to leftist cancel culture.

The Daily Wire picks up the story.

“Who was the woman in ‘The Mandalorian’? What did she do? She liked something?” Maher asked.

“She’s a Nazi,” Heitkamp responded.

“Oh, that’s different. I’m thinking of somebody else,” Maher said mockingly before defending Carano as someone who is “not a Nazi.”

Heitkamp doubled down, alleging that Carano is “involved with white supremacists.”

“Okay, everyone’s a Nazi now,” Maher replied in rebuke.

Heitkamp further accused Carano of being someone who “does hang with white supremacists.”

Maher, taken aback, pressed Heitkamp to elaborate. The former senator responded by questioning if her accusations would make her “subject to defamation.”

Heitkamp’s accusations are utterly false. She seems to know enough about Carano’s story to know that. Yet she proceeds, evidently feeling secure enough to smear an innocent person who is not even present to defend herself.

Why wouldn’t Heitkamp believe she would get away with it? Leftists use smears as a matter of mind-numbing routine now. Nearly every instance of cancel culture involves leftists smearing others, often behind the veil of anonymity, as racists and the like with the obvious intent to silence them and deprive them of their means of making a living. This chills free speech generally and destroys individuals specifically.

Carano noted Heitkamp’s potential liability in her tweet.

There’s an ongoing legal case at the University of North Texas involving its music department. There, a small group of students accused a professor of being a racist. Why? He defended a 19th-century composer’s work. The smear spread and is damaging his career, along with the careers of some of his students.

UNT’s Journal of Schenkerian Studies is under investigation following calls from around the country for it to be shuttered and for one of its advisers, UNT music theory professor Timothy Jackson, to be fired. The journal’s sin? Following criticism by scholar Philip Ewell that 19th century music theorist Heinrich Schenker, whose influence on music theory is “hard to overstate,” was an “ardent racist and German nationalist,” the journal presented an edition including debate among scholars on racial issues and music theory.

The issue led a group of graduate students to write to UNT College of Music Dean John Richmond on July 29, expressing concerns about the journal and, in particular, Jackson’s involvement in the issue. The students called for the journal to be dissolved, Jackson investigated and potentially fired from his teaching position, an anonymous contributor to be unmasked, and the issue to be publicly condemned by the university.

“If this doesn’t send chills down your spine, I suggest you take another look at history,” said Samantha Harris, FIRE senior fellow. “Each of us holds views that someone else would deem controversial. If we don’t see our own freedom as threatened by this situation and the countless others like it, that freedom will perish swiftly and silently.”

The graduate students claimed that Jackson had used the journal “to promote racism” by defending the music theorist after Ewell wrote that Schenker’s “racist views infected his music theoretical arguments.” Jackson’s article, one of several defending the composer in the 2019 edition of the journal, contextualized Schenker and his changing views on race, which were partially due to the rise of Nazi Germany. (Schenker was Jewish; his wife was arrested by the Nazi regime and died in Theresienstadt concentration camp.)

The professor in this case, Dr. Timothy Jackson, is fighting back in court according to the Denton Record-Chronicle.

Jackon alleges that UNT and the broader music theory community are curtailing his academic freedom and freedom of speech. The public rebuke could affect his ability to get his work accepted at upcoming conferences, and could also affect his students.

“It does make it more difficult to get one’s students positions,” he said. “And students are afraid to study with one. I had one student who told me didn’t want other students to know that we were communicating. So it’s extremely damaging.”

Michael Thad Allen, Jackson’s attorney, said the university and music theory community’s censure is especially harmful for graduate students studying with the center.

“I can speak with authority as a former academic myself… it is common, disturbingly common, for academics to retaliate against each other by taking it out on each other’s graduate students,” he said. “It’s a community that does and should take ideas extremely seriously. As it should be. Sometimes, [it] crosses the line where professors begin to think the people who disagree with them are somehow evil.”

Allen said in addition to violating Jackson’s rights, UNT prevented Jackson from publicly defending himself even as the allegations and criticisms spread across social media platforms and reached the newsrooms of National Public Radio, The Federalist and FOX News.

Defamation should come at a cost to those who practice it. As cancel culture spreads and destroys lives, those who weaponize smears should be aware that it can blow right back on them — either in another cancelation campaign targeting them or in court after they have attempted to destroy someone else’s life.

In other words, if you try to cancel someone you should be prepared to lawyer up and defend your actions before a judge.

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