Update: Disney has reportedly parted ways with James Gunn over his social media. Updated information at the bottom of this post:
James Gunn’s movie career has spanned two decades, writing such hit films as the 2004 remake of “Dawn of the Dead” as well as writing and directing both “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1” in 2014 and its sequel “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” in 2017 for Disney Entertainment. He also has an executive producer credit for the recent worldwide box office hit for Marvel Entertainment, “Avengers: Infinity War.” Gunn frequently takes to Twitter to speak his mind on many topics, and is not shy about his points of view, especially when it comes to politics and his loathing of U.S. President Donald Trump.
However, some of his political tweets have lost him many followers, but Gunn unabashedly says he doesn’t care. He has said so frequently in the press. And this week, while the Mary Sue was more interested James Gunn tweeting support for his liberal friends, several tweets from just a few years ago recently came to light and they were closer to being racist and body shaming than political. Few realized just how dark and twisted Gunn’s Twitter feed actually was until these came to light:
As racist, misogynistic, and body shaming these tweets above may be perceived, that aren’t nearly as shocking as some of the others in his Twitter feed that were unearthed by intrepid Reddit users.
There were really too many to show, and most of them just get sicker and sicker, bordering on pedophilia humor.
For his part, Gunn has gone back and deleted thousands of these problematic tweets and issued an apology late yesterday.
These tweets are “offensive” according to James Gunn and we don’t disagree. Arguably, most of them are not just offensive, some are borderline insane. In fact, one could be forgiven for calling James Gunn a hypocrite for bringing up offensive remarks from 15 years ago spoken by U.S. citizen Donald Trump when Gunn is suddenly is seeking grace and forgiveness himself from the marginalized and PC culture he has insulted much more recently, including the #MeToo movement.
What does Disney have to say about these kinds of social media shenanigans? The truth is that Mr. Gunn has posted tens of thousands of tweets and these are but a handful of them, how many of people have tweeted anything of this nature? And what’s the lesson for those who live in glass houses? Will James Gunn be able to apologize his way out of this debacle? How did these vile, publicly available tweets get overlooked in an era where people’s social media histories are dredged up all the time in order to pursue a narrative?
Will anyone at SDCC 2018 cover this or even bring it up? Will he still appear at any Marvel panels? Maybe Mr. Gunn’s popularity or perhaps even his personal politics are what has shielded him so far from such scrutiny, but it’s my guess that many other Hollywood natives are scrubbing those Twitter timelines right now. This won’t end well.
Feel free to follow Mr. Gunn on Twitter @JamesGunn
Apparently Disney was paying attention today and as reported by Ben Fritz of the Wall Street Journal, Alex Horn, the Chairman of Walt Disney Studios has made the following public statement:
“The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s vales, and we have severed our business relationship with him. ” Alex Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios
At least Disney is staying consistent. They fired Rosanne Barr during the height of her revived television series for making an insensitive joke about a former President Obama official within hours of her tweet. And while we believe that both Rosanne and James Gunn are likely guilty of nothing more than offensive, edgy jokes, it may have been the apparent references to a relationship Huston Huddleston that may have sealed Gunn’s fate. Huddleston was charged with possession of 600+ images of child porn in two months ago.
Variety had this to say regarding the controversy:
Gunn was originally expected to participate at Sony’s Comic-Con panel, tweeting out a tease that he would be in Hall H at the time of the event, although it was unclear what he would be hawking. The panel is supposed to present footage from “Venom” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” neither of which is directed, produced, or written by Gunn. He will no longer be participating, according to an individual with knowledge of the event.
Disney did not announce a replacement for Gunn. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is scheduled to hit theaters in 2020. The prior two films, which follow a ragtag group of space adventurers, have collectively made over $1.6 billion globally.
This isn’t Gunn’s first digital era controversy. Six years ago, he apologized publicly for a 2011 blog that was criticized as sexist and homophobic. In an entry titled “The 50 Superheroes You Most Want to Have Sex With,” Gunn speculated that Iron Man could “turn” the lesbian Batwoman into a heterosexual, labeled Gambit a “Cajun fruit,” and called Batgirl, who is a teenage mother in the comics, “easy.” Facing a backlash, Gunn said he regretted making “poorly worded” statements.
Poorly worded, indeed. Guardians of the Galaxy will never be the same.