Maybe it will take someone like me, a person who couldn’t care less about the sanctity of comic-book film franchises, to cut through the crap of this issue. Am I the one? I think I might be. I have no strong feelings for or against Guardians of the Galaxy as a (hugely successful) franchise. Before now, I had no strong feelings for or against Guardians’ writer-director James Gunn. He was just there, and he had a big hand in creating a successful Marvel franchise, so good for him or whatever. Well, Gunn was just fired from the Guardians franchise. He had been writing Guardians 3, and word is that they were planning to start production this fall. And now he’s been sh-tcanned. And I completely understand why.
The crux of the issue is some tweets from 2008-2012. Some people are like “this happened so long ago!” Nah. I still remember 2012 like it was yesterday. 2012 wasn’t so different than 2018. What is offensive and dumb in 2018 was still pretty dumb and offensive in 2012. Trust me, I was there. In those years – 2008-2012 – Gunn liked to tweet. He liked to tweet out “jokes” about rape and child molestation. If you look at just some of the tweets all compiled together – you can see some of the NSFW archived tweets here – they are a portrait of a man who has some really gross obsessions. His explanation is that he was just being a provocateur, a ribald jokester. But he seems like a man who spent too much time trying to punch down and make “jokes” about some pretty heinous subjects.
So, a white dude made some huge mistakes several years back and he was *actually* punished for it by his employer. Why is this is a story? Because I only gave you the fundamentals. The details are what many people are focusing on. Apparently, Gunn’s old tweets were dug up by right-wing bloggers and Twitter conservatives. Why did they decide to go after him? Because he’s currently “outspoken” on social media about how much he hates Donald Trump. The right-wingers found a way to discredit him, thus discrediting his political views. And yes, that sucks. It sucks that Ted Cruz is gleefully tweeting about how James Gunn sucks. It sucks that bridge troll MRAs are now performing their pearl clutching over Gunn’s old tweets. It sucks that any Trump supporter thinks they have ANY kind of moral high ground on anything. But again: after reading those tweets, I still completely understand why Disney/Marvel fired him.
Here’s Gunn’s statement, which was issued Friday afternoon:
“My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative. I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don’t reflect the person I am today or have been for some time.”
“Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today. Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then. All I can do now, beyond offering my sincere and heartfelt regret, is to be the best human being I can be: accepting, understanding, committed to equality, and far more thoughtful about my public statements and my obligations to our public discourse. To everyone inside my industry and beyond, I again offer my deepest apologies. Love to all.”
Meh. Gunn is currently 51 years old. The earliest problematic tweets were from 2008/09, when he was 41 and 42. It’s not like he was some dumb kid who was saying dumb sh-t for attention. He was a grown-ass man who repeatedly made some really screwed up jokes about children and rape. And all of the Hollywood bros who are coming out to have Gunn’s back: leave it, dudes. As I said, Disney had every right to fire him. Don’t engage in Whataboutism. Of course the people who trashed Gunn are dumpster fire right-wingers. That doesn’t mean that Gunn should still be employed by Marvel.
Photos courtesy of WENN.