Over the weekend James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3, the third film in the soon to be trilogy of this team of criminal misfits. He was currently in the process of writing the script with the aim of shooting it next year. His sacking was due to tweets from 2008 – 2012 which were dug up thanks to a right-wing website Daily Caller. His tweets were jokes which included subjects such as pedophilia and rape. Yes I can see why you’d find these offensive but this is not a sackable offence.
I realise that some of you will not agree with me but firing James Gunn is an utterly ludicrous decision. Back in 2012, the year he was hired to write and direct the first Guardians film, he apologised for these jokes and we moved on. Disney continued to employ him and he received a large amount of praise for his MCU work. So why is it exactly that he is having to apologise for a second time and has now been fired by Disney? It’s because we now live in an incredible overly-sensitive society where people are offended by the slightest provocation. Despite saying sorry it was brought up and people were not happy with him. It’s been six years since he apologised the first time and now he’s been hung out to dry because Disney bowed to public pressure. This is like paying your debt to society and then getting flung back into prison years after being released.
In 2012, the fact that Gunn apologised most likely meant that Disney and Marvel knew what he had said and continued to employ him anyway. What has changed then? He still tweeted what he did back then and, until he deleted them they were still up this year. By the way this is the company who still employs (and therefore enables) Johnny Depp and who was somehow allowed to appear in Hall H at the recent San Diego Comic Con.
At the moment Disney is trying to buy Fox, a company who owns the Deadpool character whose films consist of risque jokes and innuendos. There seems to be a blind spot floating around and not everyone is being held to this standard. Would they change Deadpool to make him bend towards their values? Something tells me they wouldn’t thanks to how much money this characters earns at the box office. It’s all about the money after all, am I right?? Speaking of values, here is what Walt Disney Studio Chairman Alan Horn said in his statement, “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.” So these tweets are “indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values” but when Depp has video footage of him being violent and abusive towards his now ex-wife this is completely inline with your “values” is it Disney? And whilst he’s cleaned up his act now Robert Downey Jr doesn’t have the best history for behaving within these values. His imprisonment and past with drugs should go conpletely against Disney. Yes it’s in the past but so is what James Gunn said.
The most awful thing about this is we cannot let things go as a society, as soon as someone unearths old comments and behaviour there is almost no saving them from the scrutiny they will be under. They may have paid their debt, apologised and put it behind them but there will always be someone looking to oust them once more. These are not things that he did, they are jokes he told. People move on from their previous views and change, it’s what we all do.
It’s been wonderful to see the amount of people supporting Gunn in the days since his firing including cast members of Guardians, people he knows, others he’s worked with as well as his own brother. But when are studios going to stop listening to what others have to say and actually make these decisions themselves. That’s not what happened here, it got out of hand thanks to the unfortunate power of Twitter trolls and the decision was made before they even told Gunn. It’s inexcusable and it’s time for a change.
We are with you James. We support you. We admire you. We are Groot.
Keep. It. Reel.