Social media controversy erupted when some old and very offensive tweets of James Gunn's resurfaced - and now Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy visionary has been dropped from the franchise that made him a worldwide icon.
Deadline reports that Disney has now cut ties with Gunn, leaving the already scheduled Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 without a director. In a statement from Disney, Chairman of Walt Disney Studios Alan Horn cites:
"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."
This firing comes on as well as the storm of tweets from fans who have been calling for equal justice to be the standard - even for a director fanboys love and adore as much as Gunn. It's sparked a heated cultural debate, that has quickly drawn association to big culture war topics like the "Me Too" movement, or the alt-right vs. progressive left political flame-war, in which Gunn was a frequent and outspoken member of the latter.
This all comes as San Diego Comic-Con is unfolding; it's especially awkward since Gunn was scheduled to host a big panel in Hall H this evening (at the time of writing this), for which he had been teasing some kind of surprise reveal of a new project.
Earlier in the day, Gunn had taken to Twitter to respond to the controversy, writing the following messages to fans in an extensive Twitter thread:
"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 shared. "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 continued, "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."
That sounded like a reasonable enough explanation to thousands of fans who quickly came to Gunn's defense; however, once other users pulled together and exposed the full extent of the offensive tweets and jokes, it was much, much, harder to defend:
Unfortunately for Guardians fans who loved Gunn's influence on that breakout Marvel hit, no amount of fan love can rival the steely standards over at Disney. Do you think Gunn should lose his Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 job over this? Or do you think this is Twitter mob mentality at its worst? Let us know your thoughts (POLITELY) in the comments.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is now in theaters. Avengers: Infinity War will be released on home video in August. Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020 (...presumably).