James Gunn won’t be steering the Guardians of the Galaxy universe forward any more. But maybe he can run for president? In easily the biggest shocker of Comic Con, Walt Disney has fired Gunn for a series of offensive tweets.
‘The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,’ said Walt Disney Studios chair Alan Horn in a statement.
In the tweets, which stretch back from as early as 2008 and 2011, Gunn made some unfunny jokes about rape and pedophilia. An angry right-wing Trump supporter started digging through Gunn’s twitter timeline and unearthed the damaging tweets. Gunn has regularly engaged in bashing the president and his supporters and hasn’t been shy about his political stance. When news of the old tweets started to surface early this week , Gunn apologized and chalked the tweets up to being immature and trying to be shocking.
‘Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo,’ Gunn tweeted on Thursday. ‘As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.’
The tweets are written in the same tweet first, think never mentality of a lot of Twitter users. The problem for Gunn of course is he worked at Disney, which doesn’t take too kindly to that kind of humor.
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These tweets have been deleted, but a sampling of them are pretty bad for someone getting a Disney paycheck.
‘The best thing about being raped is when you’re done being raped and it’s like ‘whew this feels great, not being raped!’ Gunn tweeted in February 2009.
‘I’m doing a big Hollywood film adaptation of The Giving Tree with a happy ending — the tree grows back and gives the kid a b–job.’ he tweeted in 2011.
These tweets are clearly intended to be edgy and fail. My problem is these tweets were out there before Disney hired Gunn. And with these tweets coming out seven to 10 years ago, it stands to reason that Gunn probably did grow up a lot over that time period. This seems to set a bad precedent for anyone who tweeted something that someone else could find offensive. Granted, pedophilia and rape is pretty consistently offensive across the board.
The Guardians franchise has been one of the more popular of all of the MCU films. And this is the first major controversy in the 20 films under the Marvel Studios’ banner. Gunn’s firing puts Disney in an odd position as the director/screenwriter had finished writing the script for the third film.
Disney found great success with the Ant-Man franchise after parting ways with Edgar Wright, but Gunn really helped established the feel of a Guardians’ film. How can Disney move forward? That’s the big question.
Guardians is Disney’s most out there franchise so similar out the box thinking is necessary for Gunn’s replacement. Ron Howard is a safe and easy bet as he filled in to complete Solo: A Star Wars Story after the original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired. But Disney probably needs to line up the next hungry director a la a Ryan Coogler who could set the franchise in a new even more unexpected direction.
For comic fans, Gunn’s departure likely will lead to some uncertainty. Gunn was a big proponent of the DNA era of Guardians, which has widely been proclaimed the team’s most successful and critically acclaimed run. A new director might have some different ideas in store.
What do you think about this? Did Disney make the right call or was this something not worth the fuss? Sound off in the comment section below.