Disney set a dangerous precedent last week by cutting ties with filmmaker James Gunn for offensive messages he posted online prior to his involvement with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These actions have put many members of Hollywood on the defensive, with The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson deleting all of his posts prior to January 25th of this year.
Johnson has been an active member of Twitter for years, regularly engaging with followers and getting involved in discussions about film. Leading up to the release of his Star Wars installment, Johnson often plugged the film while engaging with fans who were excited about the adventure.
The release of The Last Jedi resulted in a vocal minority of fans expressing their disdain for the filmmaker's choices, with extreme reactions wishing harm come to the filmmaker. Despite the hatred thrown at him, Johnson was always selective about who he replied to and often reciprocating the respect shown to him, even when it came to disagreements.
The YouTube channel John talks Star Wars used screencaps to notice the change in Johnson's cumulative tweets, which were recently in excess of 22,000 and now only sits at slightly more than 1,100. Johnson, as compared to many other Disney filmmakers, had as much right as anyone to use whatever language he wanted on his social channels, though often took the high road when confronted with trolls.
While Johnson hasn't explicitly stated the reasons behind his Twitter purge, the timing seems directly related to how Disney handled comments from Gunn that they didn't feel best represented the company, even if those comments were made years before any collaborative efforts.
Pablo Hidalgo, a member of the Lucasfilm Story Group, is another individual connected with Star Wars who regularly interacts with fans on social media, despite some of those "fans" setting their sights on insulting the saga. Hidalgo often purges all of his tweets, so it's possible that Johnson merely wanted a fresh started on the social media platform as opposed to attempted to hide his tracks.
Johnson is only the latest social media casualty from the Star Wars saga, though the filmmaker seemingly avoided some of the specific hatred hurled towards other members of the galaxy far, far away. Actress Daisy Ridley made comments about gun control at an awards event, only for social media users to call her a hypocrite for wishing for gun control while starring in a film series involving violence. Ridley deactivated her Twitter account as a response.
More recently, The Last Jedi star Kelly Marie Tran deleted her social media channels after being subjected to insults about her character Rose for months, including sexist and racist comments being directed specifically at the actress.
Johnson has yet to comment on Disney's actions.
What do you think motivated Johnson's deletion? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!