Elon Musk struck again at the Walt Disney Company on Tuesday, agreeing to fund a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by “The Mandalorian” actress Gina Carano.
“Please let us know if you want to join the lawsuit against Disney,” Mr. Musk wrote, apparently seeking other plaintiffs, in a post on X, which he bought in 2022.
Disney pulled Ms. Carano, a former mixed martial artist, from “The Mandalorian” in 2021 after she espoused baseless conspiracy theories and right-wing positions, some of which were deemed homophobic and anti-Semitic, in a series of social media posts. Her character was written out of sequence. Lucasfilm, the division of Disney that makes “The Mandalorian,” said in a statement at the time that Ms. Carano’s social media posts demeaning people based on their cultural and religious identities were repugnant and unacceptable.
United Talent Agency also cast Ms. Carano.
Ms. Carano’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in California, seeks an injunction forcing Disney and Lucasfilm to recast her “Mandalorian” character in episodes and recast her for the role. (Working as a “guest star,” she was paid $25,000 for each episode in which she appeared.) She also sued for damages.
Mr. Musk has elbowed Disney and its chief executive, Robert A. Iger, since Disney and other major X advertisers, including Apple, halted spending on the platform in mid-November. Advertisers took action after Mr Musk backed an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. He seemed especially angry about Disney’s decision to pull ads. Other Hollywood companies, in particular, followed Disney’s lead.
In internal X documents seen by The New York Times, sales officials have been notified that Disney has continued to halt advertising on the platform “globally” and “indefinitely.”
Disney representatives did not respond to requests for comment for this article on Tuesday.
In late November, Mr. Musk verbally attacked Mr. Iger from the stage of the New York Times’ DealBook Summit. (Citing Disney’s ad-pulling, which Mr. Musk called “blackmail,” the billionaire used an excuse to tell Mr. Iger to go.) In December, after Disney stood firm, Mr. Musk wrote to X that Mr. Iger “should be fired,” adding that “Walt Disney is turning in his grave over what Bob has done to his company.”
More recently, Mr. Musk cheered Nelson Peltz, an activist investor who, with the disgruntled former chairman of Marvel Entertainment, is waging a proxy battle to win two seats on Disney’s board.
“Brutal track record,” Mr. Musk wrote on X on Jan. 18, amplifying a post by Mr. Peltz’s Trian Partners that highlighted the underperformance of Disney stock. “Shareholders are incredibly poorly served by the @Disney board!”
Disney has strongly defended its board, along with Mr. Iger’s record. Mr. Iger, who is retiring in 2022 to take the reins at Disney again, has drastically cut costs, moved to develop turbocharging at Disney parks and reorganized the company to improve film quality, among other efforts.
Asked about the extent of Mr. Peltz’s relationship with Mr. Musk, a Trian spokesman had no immediate comment. Mr. Peltz and Mr. Musk were they were photographed together on Saturday at the Los Angeles premiere of “Lola,” an independent film written, directed and starring one of Mr. Peltz’s daughters.
X’s chief business officer, Joe Benarroch, said in a statement that Mr. Musk’s company “is proud to have provided financial support for Gina Carano’s lawsuit, enabling her to pursue the vindication of her rights to freedom of speech to X and her ability to work without intimidation. harassment or discrimination’.
Last year, Mr Musk promised to fund legal action for X users who said they had been discriminated against at work because of their posts on the platform. At the time, he said he would “go after the corporate boards as well.”
Ms. Carano’s lawsuit said: “Some time ago, in a galaxy not so far away, the defendants made it clear that only one orthodoxy in thought, speech or action was acceptable in their empire, and that those who dared to challenge or failed that full compliance would not be tolerated. That’s how it happened with Carano.”
Lauren Hirsch and Ryan Mack contributed to the report.