‘Slap in the face’: Ex-Mandalorian star’s invite to FAN EXPO prompts backlash

Click to play video: 'Ex-Mandalorian star prompts Fan Expo Vancouver boycott'
Ex-Mandalorian star prompts Fan Expo Vancouver boycott
Fan Expo returns to Vancouver next month with a list of stars, including Elijah Wood and Danny Trejo, but one in particular is raising controversy. Gina Carano has become infamous for her strong political views. Kylie Stanton has more on what's stirred up fans - and the organizer's response – Jan 12, 2024

FAN EXPO returns to Vancouver next month with a list of stars, including Elijah Wood and Danny Trejo, but one guest is raising some eyebrows.

Gina Carano is best known for her work in The Mandalorian and Deadpool.

However, her strong political views on issues such as the 2020 U.S. election, vaccines and the Holocaust have prompted a call for her to be removed from the Vancouver event.

Click to play video: 'Gina Carano dropped from ‘The Mandalorian’ over Holocaust comment'
Gina Carano dropped from ‘The Mandalorian’ over Holocaust comment

Lana Redlich is a cosplayer and voice actor based in Vancouver. Cosplay is the practice of dressing up as a character from a book, movie or TV show or even creating an original character.

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Redlich said she is looking forward to the Vancouver event, getting to see her friends and discuss their favourite shows and books from the past year.

“I find it’s, like, a very great time to, like, connect with your local cosplay community,” she said.

“If you’re in it, if you want to, you know, make friends, connect, join it. Yeah, I find it’s a great time.”

Redlich, who didn’t even want to name the former Mandalorian actress who is facing the backlash, said the announcement felt like a slap in the face.

“It felt like an enormous slap in the face to like everything the convention really should be standing for, considering they should know who is their target audience,” she added.

“Being young people, queer people, LGBT people, you know, people of colour, people from all walks of life that are so diverse that it feels like it’s just a completely goes against, you know, everything that they should be standing for.”

In February 2021, Disney cut ties with Carano after she compared being conservative today to being Jewish in Nazi Germany on social media.

“Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future,” a Lucasfilm spokesperson said in a statement. “Nevertheless, her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”

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Carano’s talent agency, UTA, also dumped her, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

She previously stirred controversy by criticizing people who specify their preferred pronouns; she also denied the existence of systemic racism.

FAN EXPO Vancouver is set to take place Feb. 17 to 19.

In a statement to Global News, the organizers said the event has always been a safe space where fans can find programming that fits their specific interests and interact with characters from their favourite movies, TV shows, books and games.

“We can assure fans that while at the show, every participant (including special guests) will be expected to uphold the same code of conduct to create a safe environment for everyone to celebrate the fandoms that unite us,” the statement read.

Click to play video: 'Fan expo expecting 130,000 attendees'
Fan expo expecting 130,000 attendees

Artist and Vancouver cosplayer Amy Dala is also concerned about Carano’s invite and how it may change the event.

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“So for me … events like this, these kind of conventions are a place for us to come together with like-minded people who share similar interests, similar fandoms,” she said.

“It’s an opportunity for us to showcase our art and our love for certain fandoms, and really connect with other people who have shared interests.”

Dala said she was disappointed to hear about Carano attending the event.

“I felt conflicted because this is an event I’ve been to in the past that I enjoyed, and I felt so welcome and safe,” she said. “And my disappointment was like one of the few safe spaces that we have no longer feel safe.”

Dala said she has refunded her ticket and will no longer be attending the expo.

She is fearful that people attending the event in person may not come in the spirit of inclusivity and instead come in support of Carano.

“I would love to see what their plan is to create that level of safety,” Dala added.

“I think that would be really helpful for participants to really know. You say it’s safe, but what does that actually look like?”

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