Guardians Director, James Gunn, Fired Over Offensive Tweets

Guardians Director, James Gunn, Fired Over Offensive Tweets

The Disney Corporation has severed all ties with Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn

James Gunn was the director of both Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and its sequel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2(2017). The original film felt like a huge gamble for Disney at the time because the Guardians themselves weren’t very well known outside of the circle of comic book fans, myself included.

However, when the original film was released in the summer of 2014, it turned out the blockbuster film was the perfect mix of great characters, action, story, and humour. The same can also be said of the sequel that followed in 2017. Together both films pulled in over $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office.

Gunn was due to start filming an “epic conclusion” to the trilogy early next year with him recently tweeting images of a completed script. The film was currently set for a 2020 release.

That has all changed today with Disney severing all business ties with Gunn. Studio chairman, Alan Horn, told the Hollywood Reporter, 

“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.”

This came about due to old tweets from Gunn that originated as far back as ten or eleven years ago suddenly resurfacing and being pushed forward by Mike Cernovich.

Cernovich is a far-right activist who helped perpetuate the conspiracy theory known as Pizzagate. This theory originated from leaked emails from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager. Theorists claimed that food-related “code words” supposedly revealed the existence of a sex trafficking operation among high ranking Democrats and several US restaurants.

This theory was widely spread by and really got out of control on December 4, 2016, when Edgar Maddison Welch, entered a pizza restaurant with an AR15 style rifle and fired three shots. No one was injured but Edgar told the police he was there to investigate the Pizzagate scandal himself believing he was the hero of the story—a rescuer of children.

Gunn’s old tweets, which we won’t reproduce here, do contain a very twisted sense of humour with the context involving rape and paedophilia. Cernovich had dug up these old tweets and reposted them to his 430,000 followers and forwarded them to Disney who made the decision to drop Gunn immediately.

Gunn used Twitter to speak out over Trump. This made him a high profile target for Cernovich who used the sick humour in the tweets as proof that Gunn was part of an underground paedophile ring in Hollywood, an idea just as absurd as Pizzagate.

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But that doesn’t condone Gunn’s actions. These “jokes” were mostly disgusting statements to try and garner attention. Gunn had already apologised for these tweets and an article on his website called, “The 50 Superheroes You Most Want to Have Sex With” back in 2011 just before getting the Guardians directing job.

Gunn released a statement on his Twitter feed that reads, 

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. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.

It’s not to say I’m better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.

In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies.

For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out. I know this is a weird statement to make, and seems obvious, but, still, here I am, saying it.

Anyway, that’s the completely honest truth: I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore. I don’t blame my past self for this, but I like myself more and feel like a more full human being and creator today. Love you to you all.

ABC also posted this further statement from Gunn, 

My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative. I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don’t reflect the person I am today or have been for some time.

Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today. Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then. All I can do now, beyond offering my sincere and heartfelt regret, is to be the best human being I can be: accepting, understanding, committed to equality, and far more thoughtful about my public statements and my obligations to our public discourse. To everyone inside my industry and beyond, I again offer my deepest apologies. Love to all.


John Abbitt

About the author | John Abbitt

@UKFilmNerd | John loves the movies and he used to write for his own website, The Tydirium Hangar Bay, in the late 1990's. Whilst the web page idea became lost in the passages of time, John's love of film did not. Now he's back, writing for The Unheard Nerd.

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