Comedian and filmmaker Bobcat Goldthwait criticized Disney for firing Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director James Gunn, who Goldthwait says was attacked by “right-wing extremist trolls” for being outspoken against President Donald Trump and his administration.
“Here’s the thing. I love James, he’s a great man,” Goldthwait said during a visit to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
“These are tweets that weren’t funny years ago, and he’s apologized for them years and years ago, they’re decades old. If we’re going to start punishing artists and creative people for what they said 10, 20 years ago, and have apologized [for] — we’re not gonna have anybody left.”
The ousted Guardians franchise writer-director was fired by Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn last month after a cache of mostly decade-old offensive tweets resurfaced on Twitter, bringing to light jokes published by Gunn involving the topics of pedophilia, rape, and other abuses.
Goldthwait penned a defense of the “passionate and kind” Gunn on Instagram before suggesting Disney remove him from a yet-to-be-announced upcoming Disney Parks attraction, where Goldthwait reprises his Hercules voice role as Hades henchman Pain.
“So on Instagram, I wrote a thing to Disney, suggesting that they remove my voice from an upcoming project that’s coming to the Disneyland Park. Because I’ve done things [that are offensive],” Goldthwait said on Colbert.
Goldthwait believes Gunn’s firing was the result of politics, not morality, and criticized Marvel Studios owner Disney for catering to what he called a “fringe group of lunatics.”
“But the key was that he’s really being attacked not for something that he said almost a decade ago, he’s being attacked because he’s very outspoken against the president and his administration,” Goldthwait said.
“I said I’m outspoken against the president and his administration, you’re taking your lead from a few crackpots that are right-wing extremist trolls. So I would hope Disney would govern themselves and not let this fringe group of lunatics tell them how they’re going to hire and fire people.”
Horn condemned the “offensive attitudes and statements” in Gunn’s social media history, calling the tweets “indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values” in a statement announcing Disney had severed their relationship with the filmmaker. Gunn quickly apologized and accepted his removal from the franchise.
Fans have since rallied behind Gunn with an oft-circulated petition aimed at Disney to reinstate Gunn as director on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The petition has earned more than 365,000 signatures.0comments
The stars of the Guardians franchise issued their own showing of solidarity with Gunn through a joint statement expressing their “love, support, and gratitude” for Gunn, declaring they support Gunn and his reinstatement but do not condone the offensive past statements made by the filmmaker.
Recent reports claimed Disney was mulling over reinstatement, but Variety has since disclosed Disney will not rehire Gunn because “the dozens of so-called jokes that Gunn made about pedophilia and rape are unacceptable in the #MeToo era and are not in line with Disney’s family-friendly image.”