A decade ago, Guardians of the Galaxy director, James Gunn, made some offensive tweets and ran an offensive blog. About 6 years ago, he was called out on it by Tumblr users and The Mary Sue. This week the internet dragged it all back up. This time, the outcry was bigger. This time, despite already apologizing some years ago, actively working towards being a better person, his past bit Gunn in the ass – big time. What started the 2nd Coming of his offensive tweets? What fate did Gunn meet and how did he meet it?
It’s no secret that Gunn has been more and more vocal about his political leanings, calling out politicians and celebrities alike for their bad behavior. This caught the attention of some folk who thought they could do some damage. And damage they did.
Michael Cernovich is an American alt-right social media personality, writer, and conspiracy theorist, according to his Wikipedia page. These are important things to know because he was the most vocal pursuer of Gunn and his tweets. As Gunn became more outspoken for his political (read Anti-Trump) beliefs, he gained enemies like Cernovich.
That’s not to say Gunn is innocent. He wrote some disgusting stuff. And he apologized for it. As well as dedicated his life to being a better person, and it shows in his current Twitter feed and his activities.
But Cernovich is far from the defender of innocence he’d claim to be.
Still, despite his active, completely-not joking tweets, Cernovich and his alt-right followers stirred up enough dust to catch Disney’s attention. Disney promptly replied by “severing business relations” with Gunn. He won’t be directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3, and he canceled his appearance at SDCC, assumedly unveiling a new movie.
Rumors Gunn had deactivated his Twitter buzzed all over the internet, but Gunn did eventually reactivate the account and issued a reply to the press.
“My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative,” Gunn said in an official statement. “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,” Gunn said. “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.”
He isn’t dodging the issue or trying to justify it. He’s claiming responsibility for his actions and sticking by his ethics. He’s acting the way he feels celebrities like Roseanne Barr should’ve acted when they were called out for their hateful remarks. The difference here is, Gunn is remorseful and has actively worked at making the world a better place. Barr isn’t, wasn’t, and hasn’t.
Fans and friends alike have taken to social media in defense of Gunn, even Guardians of the Galaxy’s own Drax, Dave Bautista, throwing in his two cents.
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
The internet is pointing out similarities to other celebrity pasts that Disney has ignored, like Robert Downy Jr.’s prison time and drug use, the friends and family that it harmed, or Johnny Depp’s spousal abuse. Disney’s own past isn’t squeaky clean either, with numerous racist cartoons. The line Gunn crossed for Disney is blurry and inconsistent. Gunn’s jokes were vile and should never be repeated, but were they as bad as hitting your wife? In the end, they were still just words. Smack your wife around? Hey, let’s put out another Pirates movie! Joke about a tree giving a kid a blowjob? Now THAT’S too far!
If these tweets were new, or Gunn hadn’t shown genuine remorse and an effort to do better, this firing would have been justified. Instead, it looks like a knee-jerk reaction from Disney in order to appease some vocal alt-righters and their Pizzagate conspiracy theorist talking heads. It was a bad move and one that will only benefit internet trolls while stripping Disney of one of their most influential creators and stripping the fans of the 3rd Gunn helmed MCU film. What should’ve been a slap on the wrist at most derailed a man’s career. The entire thing was beyond dumb on Disney’s part.
What happens from here on out is anyone’s guess. In a perfect world, Disney would come to their senses, realize what a political hit job this was, and make amends with Gunn. The best we can hope for is for someone as capable to step into Gunn’s shoes. The internet suggests Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi, and it’s not a bad idea. Perhaps James Gunn’s brother Sean Gunn, who does the motion capture for Rocket Raccoon, as well as playing Kraglin could finish his brother’s vision for the franchise.
How do you feel about the situation? Do you feel Gunn should be held responsible for decades-old tweets that he’s already apologized for within the last ten years? Do you believe people aren’t allowed to grow and evolve after a certain age? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Facebook!