In an incredibly shocking move, acclaimed Guardians of the Galaxy writer and director James Gunn has been fired by Disney, with him no longer being involved with the third installment in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. The decision to let Gunn go was made after a number of inappropriate tweets from several years ago, making jokes regarding rape and pedophilia, resurfaced online. This resurfacing occurred after a few people who disagreed with Gunn politically brought the tweets up in their argument against him. While the decision by Disney to fire James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 may seem understandable at first, upon further analysis, I personally believe it is incredibly hypocritical and frankly ridiculous.
The first reason this "issue" is ridiculous is that Disney more than likely already knew about it. Gunn's comments previously stirred up controversy back in 2012 when he made them. He admitted immediately that they were all made in a comedic sense, which is understandable as he is a comedy writer. However, the biggest point being made here is that the controversy occurred back in 2012, which was the same year that Gunn was hired on to direct Guardians of the Galaxy.
Based on how public the controversy was at the time on his social media, Marvel Studios and the Walt Disney Company surely should have known about it already when they hired him, but chose to ignore it simply because they didn't think anyone would care. Now that the world has figured out about the tweets, however, the Walt Disney Company is acting like it's the first they have heard of it, and are firing Gunn, despite the fact that they more than likely knew about it already. The people at Disney aren't firing James Gunn because they disagree with his comments and can't stand to work with him anymore, as they've been working with him for six years now. Instead, they are firing him to cover their own tracks and act like they had no idea it ever happened, when a simple look at the timeline would reasonably prove otherwise.
The second reason Gunn's firing is ridiculously hypocritical has to do with the current deal between the Walt Disney Company and 20th Century FOX. In the statement by Alan Horn, Disney's chairman, Horn said that Gunn's jokes were "inconsistent with our studio's values." However, a number of the movies that Disney will be acquiring from FOX have a variety of similar jokes also relating to rape and pedophilia.
Specifically, Deadpool 2, which released earlier this year, will be acquired by Disney. Those who have seen Deadpool 2 know that it has a large number of rape and pedophile jokes in it, particularly about the child character Firefist. However, Disney seems to have no problem acquiring and eventually distributing Deadpool 2, which had a number of jokes significantly less tasteful than Gunn's. Additionally, CEO Bob Iger has even admitted that Disney would more than likely be willing to let movies like the Deadpool franchise continue the way they are now, which would more than likely mean they would make even more rape jokes. Clearly, the line that Disney draws is incredibly vague, as they won't allow one writer to make a joke about rape or pedophilia, but they'll be willing to release (or at least distribute) movies with even more profane jokes about rape and pedophilia in them. Perhaps morality is not actually Disney's concern here. Perhaps their concern is something a little more green.
Finally, the third and probably most important reason this controversy is ridiculous is the way that it came about in the first place. The people that resurfaced James Gunn's old tweets didn't do so out of actual disgust for what he said. Instead, they were people who disagreed with Gunn politically, and tried to ruin his career because of it. The controversy that got Gunn fired was purely an attempt to get him fired, rather than actual shock from his comments. Almost everyone knows that James Gunn is a comedy writer, and a lot of comedy writers have written a lot worse things over the years (again, Deadpool 2) and no one has batted an eye.
The issue that got Gunn fired was a difference in politics between himself and a few people online, specifically by Mike Cernovich, who has had a number of sexual harassment lawsuits against him in the past. Had the intent of the controversy simply been from pure disgust, I would be willing to back Disney's decision. However, the people that brought the tweets up simply did it to ruin the life of a successful man, and Disney foolishly allowed them to succeed. Gunn has admitted numerous times that his comments did not reflect how he actually feels, and it certainly has made no presence in his work ethic.
Even conservative icon Ben Sharpio has spoken out against Disney choosing to fire Gunn. During the political argument that eventually led to Gunn being fired, Sharpio and Gunn threw some harsh words at each other. Despite this, Sharpio still admitted in a later tweet that Disney choosing to fire Gunn over his previous comments was "bad precedent and a mistake."
The "jokes" that James Gunn tweeted were certainly inappropriate and in bad taste, but all things considered, I don't believe it was worth him being fired over. Disney firing James Gunn isn't as much them getting rid of a bad person as it is just using one of their directors as a scapegoat. Disney likely knew about it long ago, and are dropping Gunn simply so it doesn't look like their hands are dirty. Their intent to buy FOX proves that the morals they are preaching aren't really as strong as their lust for money, and all in all, they are just letting a few Internet trolls with different political beliefs from Gunn ruin the life of a talented man.
In James Gunn's comments since being fired, he has said that the jokes did not reflect his personal viewpoints whatsoever, and they were just a couple jokes in bad taste that failed to land. Hopefully The Walt Disney Company will reconsider their previous statement. In my personal opinion, James Gunn is a fantastic man who has done a fantastic job with Marvel and in his other work, and his impressive career should not come to an end simply because a few people on the Internet are mad at him for not liking the President. James Gunn does not deserve that, and neither do his millions of fans.
I will have more to say but for right now all I will say is this..@JamesGunn is one of the most loving,caring,good natured people I have ever met. He’s gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He’s made mistakes. We all have. Im NOT ok with what’s happening to him— Dave Bautista (@DaveBautista) July 21, 2018
I think @JamesGunn is an a**hole, as my exchange with him earlier this week made clear. I also think that firing him for vile old joke tweets is bad precedent and a mistake. There is no limiting principle to the outrage mob. https://t.co/wtSFzrIUER— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) July 20, 2018
I've known James Gunn for over a decade. James is an advocate of human rights, animal rights, and general positivity. In recent years his platform to speak about these things has grown tremendously and he's used it for a lot of good. He's an amazing human being with a huge heart— Mikaela Hoover (@mikaelahoover) July 21, 2018
This is one of the LESS disgusting tweets from Mike Cernovich, the dude who, after running a Gamergate-style smear campaign, just got James Gunn fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. Okay have a good weekend. https://t.co/7DYlin1zgO— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) July 20, 2018
Holy shit James Gunn actually got fired from GOTG 3 for this.— That One Guy (@SoulSurge100) July 20, 2018
Johnny Depp is a wife beater but he still gets work.
Bryan Singer is a pedo rapist (allegedly) and he still gets work.
James Gunn’s career basically ends overnight when people remember he used to make bad jokes.
are there some dumbass crackheads trying to say marvel should come for rdj like james gunn? rdj the man that literally went to prison for his drug addiction, rdj the man who literally saved fuckin marvel?— baru ✨ (@rdjstarki) July 21, 2018
ps: drug abuse isn't comparable to being a pedophile in this essay i wi-
Calling it now: 75% likelihood Disney is going to re-hire James Gunn and apologize for listening to a far-right rapist instead of the years-old apologies of the director they just fired for decade-old jokes.— 🏳️🌈ＳＰＡＣＥＤＡＤＥＣＡＰＳ 🏳️🌈 (@SuperSpacedad) July 21, 2018
Deeply heartbroken by all aspects of the James Gunn situation. Heartbroken that a creative inspiration of mine would be so foolish and repulsive with his words, and equally disheartened that it had to cost him his artistic brainchild, even after he'd seemingly grown as a person.— HoustonProductions1 (@Blockbustedpod) July 21, 2018
1/ What happened to James Gunn is a political hit job. If you’re whatabouting in regard to some stupid things he said years ago, you’re being manipulated. Gunn used his platform to call out bullshit on the right and our Russian puppet president. And they hurt him for it. Simple.— Daniel Casey (@DanielCasey82) July 20, 2018
James Gunn's stupid tweets didn't qualify as humor even ten years ago, and I really wonder if they tell the complete story of why Disney let him go.— Scott Lynch (@scottlynch78) July 21, 2018
Also, Mike Cernovich remains a rape apologist, a conspiracy theorist, a serial liar, and an utter kook.
What bothers me about the James Gunn firing is that as someone who said and thought shitty privileged awful things a decade ago, I have to believe that sincere effort to make amends, improve and listen should matter.— Jeremy La Forge (@jglaforge) July 21, 2018
Joss Whedon's still getting jobs as The Male Feminist while disingenuous right-wing transphobes and actual literal pedophiles got James Gunn fired for shit too tame for them— summer holestice (@kamilumin) July 21, 2018
What James Gunn said 10 years ago was wrong and distasteful. But I personally don't think it was worth getting him fired all over it. It came out of nowhere and Disney handled it extremely poorly because they don't want to look bad on their behalf.— Crimson Mayhem [3 Days] (@mayhem_crimson) July 21, 2018
Devasted and furious over the James Gunn situation. It's one thing for Disney not wanting to associate itself with those vulgar tweets. It's another for Disney to fall for, cave, & give the right-wingers exactly what they attempted to accomplish. Unbelievable.— Enrique Arellano (@ElmecoA) July 21, 2018
James Gunn was fired for Vol 3 for sharing Seth MacFarlane’s sense of humor a decade ago, which I definitely understand Disney not wanting to be attached to. But finding out someone dug it up for the express purpose of taking down an outspoken anti-Drumpfer is...concerning.— ShannonSketches (@ShannonSketches) July 21, 2018
You literally went back 10 years to find shitty, edgy jokes because he made fun of conservatives. Damn I’m not defending Gunn at all, but don’t pretend like you’re on a quest.— Neo (@NeoWokio) July 21, 2018
You don’t care about James Gunn. You care about ruining the livelihood of those who call you names. https://t.co/eSdCQztXvo
5. 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.— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 20, 2018