Elon Musk’s anger at Disney boss Bob Iger for driving his social media company closer to bankruptcy may have found an outlet—one that uses a former Disney star as its vessel.
On Tuesday, the billionaire entrepreneur, who took on $13 billion in debt to buy financially troubled Twitter, confirmed he would pay Gina Carano’s legal fees as the actress sought damages from Lucasfilm parent Disney for wrongful dismissal from its hit Star Wars series The Mandalorian.
“I would like to express my deepest gratitude and thank you to Elon Musk and X for giving me an opportunity to bring my case to light,” Carano posted on the platform.
Musk, who invited others to participate in the lawsuit, grew angry at Iger when Disney pulled its ads from his platform over concerns X had become a haven for hate speech that proved unsafe for a family-oriented brand.
In a scene that has since gone viral, the world’s second richest person claimed the departure of advertisers like Disney was tantamount to blackmail since it would bankrupt the loss-making company—and then went on to insult his former customer with profanity during a New York Times conference in November.
Before his interviewer could switch subjects, Musk turned to fix his gaze on the audience and repeated himself slowly with hand gestures for emphasis.
“Go. Fuck. Yourself. Is that clear?” The CEO of Tesla then directed his attention to the Disney boss directly and quipped: “Hey, Bob.”
Musk has since repeatedly called for the entertainment giant to sack its CEO.
“He should be fired immediately. Walt Disney is turning in his grave over what Bob has done to his company,” the X owner wrote shortly after the incident.
Barely a week ago, Musk opined that the “current Disney management is destroying the company,” arguing it was “time for a change.”
On Saturday he then posed grinning for the cameras alongside activist investor and Iger nemesis Nelson Peltz.
Fortune contacted Disney and Lucasfilm requesting comment, but neither had responded at press time.
Please let us know if you would like to join the lawsuit against Disney https://t.co/FnMxhUQvVA
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 6, 2024
Musk bought Twitter in what many analysts believe is one of the most overpriced deals in history after a Delaware court refused to let him walk away from the contractually agreed purchase on the grounds that the Twitter board had allegedly deceived him.
The entrepreneur has since worked to flip the narrative and portray himself as a martyr who was willing to pay $44 billion out of his pocket to restore free speech to the American people.
‘I expect this to be one of many lawsuits against Disney’
Carano said on Tuesday she had reached out to Musk after his offer to pay the legal fees for anyone contesting their wrongful dismissal as a consequence of what they may have posted on Twitter.
In early 2021, social media users successfully called for the actress to be sacked after she compared events preceding the Holocaust to the hyper-partisan atmosphere in today’s America.
“To get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews,” she wrote at the time. “How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?”
On Tuesday, Carano denied the allegation that this was another case of a Republican conservative playing the victim card by reaching for a historically insensitive example.
The fact that this since-deleted post was on Instagram rather than Twitter, and the decision to fire her came from Bob Chapek—not Bob Iger—does not appear to have factored deeply into Musk’s motivations.
“I expect this to be one of many lawsuits against Disney,” the Tesla CEO said on Tuesday, turning the tables on the progressive company by calling it blatantly racist and sexist.
His willingness to accept her case—and not, for example, a Saudi sentenced to death for criticizing the royal family on Twitter—is reminiscent of the tactics employed by Musk’s fellow PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel.
After Gawker outed the conservative billionaire as gay, Thiel bankrolled wrestling star Hulk Hogan’s case against the publication, which ended up driving the media site out of business.
While there’s little risk that might happen to Disney, Carano could give Musk a chance at what he seems to want most—the departure of Iger from Disney’s corner office.