James Gunn’s old tweets are once again one of the main topics this week on social media. Several articles and websites have been covering this story since James Gunn was fired from Disney/ Marvel last Friday in the mists of San Diego Comic-Con.
Alan Horn stated on Friday, “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”
This is the cookie cutter statement the company makes when they have let someone go by not including the full reasons for the termination due to the lack of concrete facts.
The tweets were from almost 10 years ago, where Gunn made fun of subjects like child rape, pedophilia, homophobia, and 911 to name a few. Gunn had made disturbing jokes about them and the jokes were scrutinized by the public. However, Gunn had already made a public apology back in 2012, stating that he was trying to be provocative and edgy while staying in line with some of his earlier work. Gunn’s tweets weren’t perceived well by everyone and that was the problem. Many people would say, “Who makes fun of pedophilia, and 911?” If you look at Gunn’s previous work he was known for some very disturbing films and shows that were at the time supposed to be funny and like nothing, anyone has ever seen before. Besides other entertainers and writers joke about similar subjects and have been doing it for years. For example, Family Guy, I’m sure you all know “Herbert the pervert” he’s the old man in Family Guy that tries to get close to Chris by attempting to get Chris alone and or in compromising sexual situations.
I didn’t plan on weighing in on the recent news about James Gunn being fired from Disney/Marvel. However, I have come across some information mostly from the online news and entertainment website Screen Rant.
You can fully read that article by Hannah Shaw-Williams here.
The article talks about how an alt-right smear campaign achieved its goal of getting Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn fired over behavior he long ago apologized for and no longer affiliates his self with.
James Gunn is very active on social media often getting into current political rants while talking about what he is working on with Marvel.
Mike Cernovich was the ringleader in dragging James Gunn through the mud. It turns out that James had criticised some political commentators like Ben Shapiro. This caught the attention of Mike Cernovich who was known for the conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton was part of a secret child sex slavery ring run out of a basement of a pizza parlor, which was called “pizzagate”. With this and Gamergate, Cernovich had already developed an effective playbook for smear campaigns.
By using the raw material of Gunn’s old tweets from between 2008-2011, Cernovich in retaliation had everything he needed to trow Gunn under the bus and ultimately get him fired. Due to the current state of social media, Cernovich knew that if he posted the old tweets in an article that news would spread quickly and Gunn would be fired from his successful job at Marvel Studios which is owned by Disney.
With Disney’s no-tolerance “policy” for any inappropriate behavior on social media, it was only right for them to fire Gunn abruptly, even if they didn’t have all the facts. Disney still has to protect their image and show that they are a wholesome family oriented company.
Cernovich gathered the most shocking tweets he could find, frame them in the worst possible light and embellish the truth with exaggeration and misinformation. Once the tweets were discovered, Gunn had done a mass deletion of the tweets from his page. After the first time Gunn apologized and squashed the tweets back in 2012, he had no reason to rid them since he thought he was out of the woods. Years passed, Gunn was a changed man, no longer writing or creating provocative and disturbing material we once knew him to create. He wasn’t tweeting disturbing and disgusting tweets and comments. He goes on to work for Disney/Marvel on Guardians of the Galaxy films, executive produces Avengers Infinity War and becomes the overseer of all the cosmic aspects of the MCU. Gunn had just finished writing the screenplay for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 and had already submitted it for review. Guardians of the Galaxy vol 3 was set to start filming early 2019. At this time there is no news regarding the state of that production.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has not made a statement regarding Gunn’s termination, however, some of the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy have made statements showing their support of Gunn on Twitter and Instagram. Other directors, actors, and friends of Gunn including Gunn’s brother Sean Gunn have shown support of Gunn during this terrible time.
According to an article by Deadline Bobcat Goldthwait asked Disney to remove his voice from an upcoming Disneyland attraction to avoid appearing hypocritical. Goldthwait made some shocking and offensive jokes years ago and he is embarrassed about them now. He stated that he does not want to make Disney look bad because he is openly critical of Trump and his administration.
For the past 10 years, Marvel Studios has not had one potentially harmful scandal publicised. It had only continued to grow and improve over time. Gunn had become apart of a larger family when he was hired to direct Guardians of the Galaxy. Even with Gunn’s history in film, he was allowed to join the House of Mouse and create inspiring and fantastic films with Marvel.
Do I think Disney should rehire James? Yes and no. I feel like once your employer shows that they won’t stand by you in times of slander they won’t stand by you at all.
I also think after reviewing all the information about how this transpired Disney should consider rehiring Gunn and making a public apology.
I also hope that this situation doesn’t damage the reputation and the productivity of the MCU, even if Gunn can never return to his post.