A day after Disney fired Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director James Gunn from directing duties on Vol. 3 of the Marvel Studios blockbuster franchise over resurfaced offensive tweets, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is calling for Gunn’s prosecution.
Wow. These #JamesGunn tweets are just horrible. Child rape is no laughing matter. As Texas SG, I handled far too many child sexual assaults. Truly evil. I’m glad Disney fired him, but if these tweets are true, he needs to be prosecuted. pic.twitter.com/1IgHC18J4x— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 21, 2018
“Wow. These #JamesGunn tweets are just horrible. Child rape is no laughing matter,” Cruz wrote on Twitter Saturday. “As Texas [Solicitor General], I handled far too many child sexual assaults. Truly evil. I’m glad Disney fired him, but if these tweets are true, he needs to be prosecuted.”
Cruz accompanied the tweet with a screen capture of more than a dozen tweets published by Gunn through 2012, the year Gunn won the directing gig on the first Guardians of the Galaxy.
“I’m doing a big Hollywood film adaptation of The Giving Tree with a happy ending — the tree grows back and gives the kid a b—job,” Gunn wrote in a 2011 tweet. “This may be the plant version of adopting a damaged 12 year old girl who steals your money and accuses you of molesting her,” he wrote in another.
“‘Eagle Snatches Kid’ is what I call it when I get lucky,” Gunn wrote in a tweet published in December 2012, months after Gunn confirmed his status as writer-director on Guardians of the Galaxy in September.
A 2009 retweet from Gunn read “I like it when little boys touch me in my silly place. Shhh!” and another tweet published by the Slither and Super filmmaker read, “Three Men and a Baby They Had Sex With,” with the hashtag “#unromanticmovies.”
Other tweets — some collected in an Imgur album — saw Gunn recount how “a monkey j—d off to completion on a kid on the set of Max Keeble’s Big Move” and involved other crude jokes of pedophilia, child molestation, and others involving rape and abuse.
“Leading in Votes on which American Idol Contestant I should Rape: Sanjaya with 12 votes, followed by Constantine with 3,” Gunn wrote in 2008 of American Idol contestant Sanjaya Malakar.
Gunn made other tweets about going “big game raping” and made other posts saying he “made a joke about ass-raping my friend when she was asleep” and pondering “which Disneyland character would be the worst to get raped by,” before settling on Goofy and Sleepy of the Seven Dwarfs.
Gunn previously apologized in 2012 for unrelated comments he made on his own website, jamesgunn.com, where he wrote sexually crude and demeaning comments about superheroes such as Black Widow and Gambit of the X-Men in a blog post titled “The 50 Superheroes You Most Want to Have Sex With: 2nd Annual Poll Results.”
The filmmaker apologized after GLAAD deemed the comments “anti-gay” and “sexist.” Gunn’s since-deleted tweets also make numerous references to “trannys,” which is typically viewed as a derogatory term for trans individuals.
Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn immediately condemned Gunn’s social media history after the tweets came to light.
“The offensive attitudes and statements on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” Horn said in a statement Friday.
“Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo,” Gunn said in his apology. “As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor. It’s not to say I’m better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.”
He added: “In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies. For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out. I know this is a weird statement to make, and seems obvious, but, still, here I am, saying it.”
He later addressed his dismissal from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, saying his words from “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,” Gunn said.4comments
“Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken 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. To everyone inside my industry and beyond, I again offer my deepest apologies. Love to all.”
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was expected to shoot in January ahead of a May 2020 release.