James Gunn has been removed as director of the Guardians Of The Galaxy series after a batch of old social media dispatches were unearthed that touched on areas like pedophilia and rape.
The more I think about this situation, the worse I feel. I was sorta familiar with his work through cultural osmosis. He was part of the schlock-horror studio Troma. I was aware of Troma through The Toxic Avenger, but because I’m not a huge horror fan, Troma films never really appeared on my radar. Gunn made a couple of really good Marvel movies, and now he got in trouble because of some offensive tweets he made 10 years ago.
From what I’d seen, people had already expressed concerns about Gunn when Disney/Marvel chose him to direct the first Guardians movie, back in 2012. The Hollywood Reporter has an article here:
So, he made some homophobic jokes on his blog, and he got called out on it. Gunn apologized and has endeavored to do better. Disney/Marvel then allowed him to direct Guardians and the sequel, and Gunn, I believe, was hard at work on the next Guardians script as all this went down. The resurfaced tweets come from 2008, when Gunn was only a indie film director who made no-budget horror. I don’t think 2008 Gunn would’ve believed you if you told him that 10 years from now, he’d direct two blockbuster films for Disney.
What’s galling is that the tweets were surfaced by a conservative commentator who decided to dig up some old shit by Gunn because Gunn is a dyed-in-the-wool Hollywood liberal who hates Trump. Now, the right wing’s hatred for Hollywood liberals isn’t news. The news is that Disney decided to side with the commentator instead of sticking with their original decision of keeping Gunn on after he sincerely apologized for his gross jokes back in 2012. It’s outrage culture run rampant.
Gunn should be reinstated. I’ve seen some arguments where people have pointed out that Disney fired Gunn but has kept Johnny Depp, despite the alleged domestic abuse he incurred on his ex Amber Heard. (Oh, and I was freaking out over the image of the pair of them sharing the same green room at SDCC, since the 2nd Fantastic Beasts film and Aquaman both had Hall H panels on Saturday. Who’s the bright exec who came up with that idea?) Disney has allowed John Lasseter to carry on in a consulting capacity at Disney Animation despite his gross behavior. Why the double standard, Disney? Why get rid of Gunn when he only make jokes, while keeping people who have actually engaged in gross behavior on?
The court of public opinion is still out on this, but I don’t know if I could watch a Guardians movie without Gunn’s involvement.