Disney fired James Gunn last month. As SCIFI.radio reported at the time, Disney fired Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Disney Studio chairman Alan Horn said, “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.”
James Gunn, who was in the midst of writing the script for Guardians of the Galaxy 3 and who was looking forward to directing the movie, was fired after old and admittedly inappropriate tweets were uncovered by conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich. (Cernovich was the man behind the Pizzagate hoax, which claimed that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring via a pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C.) Gunn has admitted that the ten-year-old tweets were in poor taste and that he regrets them.
Gunn himself released the following statement:
“My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative. 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 ta ken today. 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.”— James Gunn
Some fans think that Disney should stand firm, and not give Gunn a second chance. The Mary Sue said Disney should stand their ground and not rehire Gunn. What he said may have been long ago, but it was tasteless and offensive. And he was a grown man, not a rowdy teenager, when he said it.
The Talmud says, “One must not say to a man who has repented (and changed his way of life), ‘Remember your former deeds’.”
James Gunn’s co-workers have offered him their support. Dave Bautista, who plays Drax in Guardians, has taken it a step further. Bautista tweeted that if Disney did not at least use Gunn’s script, he would seriously consider asking to be released from his contract.
Marvel may be willing to take Bautista up on his offer to quit if Gunn is not rehired as director and/or scriptwriter. They replaced Edward Norton with Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. They replaced Terrance Howard with Don Cheadle as War Machine. Years ago, Disney replaced Stoney Jackson with Steven Williams as the star of The Hundred Lives of Black Jack Savage. Neither Marvel nor their parent company Disney are afraid to fire and recast.
Comedian Bobcat Goldthwait called Disney executives hypocrites, pointing out that Gunn’s reputation was not unknown when Disney hired him, and that they have hired people (himself included) who’ve said and done worse. He asked whether Disney was still making money off Powder, a film written and directed by a convicted child molester and pornographer.
What do you think, readers? Should Disney forgive James Gunn for jokes tweeted years ago? Many fans want to see him in the director’s chair; some are threatening not to see Guardians of the Galaxy 3 if another director is hired. Or should Disney stand firm, to prevent future trouble by making it crystal clear that they mean what they say? Are Gunn’s old tweets unforgivable, or merely in execrably bad taste? Is locker room talk from years ago sufficient to stall his career? Should Disney use his script and hire a different director as a compromise? Tell us your opinions in the comments section below.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.