Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Culture

Attention Gina Carano: Jews weren’t passive, ‘gentle’ victims. They were fighters too.

Say what you will about Gina Carano, she’s a fighter.

The ousted “Mandalorian” actor, who began her career in mixed martial arts before pivoting to drama (with mixed results) made this point clear on Sunday in a YouTube interview with right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro, her first since being fired for invoking the Holocaust in a social media post.

“I fought in the ring, and I do have hot blood,” said Carano. “But it’s usually hot blood when it deals with people being bullied.”

Carano made this comment around 30 minutes into the interview (directly after a Helix mattress ad) in a segment devoted to her controversial social media post, which many interpreted as likening the treatment of conservatives by their neighbors to that of Jews during the Holocaust. Carano insisted that the post had been misinterpreted and tearfully emphasized that she had been “inspired by, like, the gentle spirit of the Jewish people going through that time.”

Oh, Gina. This is not the way.

While Carano appeared sincere in her contrition for invoking the Shoah in a flip manner, and said she had “grown through the experience,” she actually stumbled onto an offensive misconception with ugly underpinnings.

“The gentle spirit” of Jews in the Holocaust is not the compliment she thinks it is — nor is it accurate.

Jews resisted in ways large and small throughout the Holocaust. They observed holidays in secret in the camps and preserved their history beneath ghetto floorboards — under fear of death in each case. They killed guards at Sobibor and Auschwitz. They had an uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto and at Treblinka. They took to the woods of Belarus with a partisan army and fought in the Resistance, saving women and children — in “Star Wars” terms, they were the Rebels.

The notion that Jews were all docile victims who went quietly to their deaths is a harmful trope, and coming from someone who values her status as a fighter, feels more than mildly patronizing, with Carano stopping just short of saying she would have fought for helpless Jews against Nazi “bullies” had she been around back then.

Not helping Carano’s case was the lone, vague example she gave of the “gentle” Jewish spirit. She claimed to be “inspired” by footage of an elderly survivor forgiving an “old Nazi man” at his trial. Whether she meant to or not, Carano positioned her own combative response to oppression as at odds with how Jews have handled their own.

Tellingly, Shapiro did not push back on Carano’s idea of the “gentle,” long-suffering Jew. In fact, he reacted immediately to her ouster from Lucasfilm by giving her an opportunity to develop a film with Daily Wire’s production company.

There’s no word yet on what the project might focus on, but chances are it won’t be a Hannah Szenes biopic. Given Carano’s spotty record on history, that’s probably for the best.

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture reporter. He can be reached at [email protected]

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.