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.