US director James Gunn fired from Marvel Studios for decade-old offensive tweets

Monday, July 23, 2018

On Friday, US director and screenwriter James Gunn was fired from work on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 for Marvel Studios reportedly for his offensive tweets from 2008 to 2011 about, amongst other things, rape and paedophilia.

File photo of James Gunn, 2014.
Image: Mingle Media TV (flickr) (CC BY 2.0).

In a statement, Walt Disney Studios' Chairman Alan Horn said, "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".

The Walt Disney Company owns Marvel Studios. James Gunn wrote the screenplay and directed Marvel movies Guardians of the Galaxy, released in 2014, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, released in 2017. Based on the comic book characters in the Marvel Comics, the movie franchise featured Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillian as well as Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel as voice cast for CGI characters. The two movies earned a worldwide box office revenue of about USD 773 million and USD 864 million per Box Office Mojo's statistics. Gunn had been writing the third movie in the franchise reportedly to be released in 2020.

Responding to his firing, James Gunn said, "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."

In one of the old tweets, Gunn wrote, "The best thing about being raped is when you're done being raped and it's like 'whew this feels great, not being raped!'"

Dave Bautista, who portrays Drax the Destroyer in Gunn's Marvel movies, tweeted about Gunn's dismissal saying, "James Gunn is one of the most loving, caring, good natured people I have ever met. He's gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He's made mistakes. We all have. I'm NOT ok with what's happening to him".

After Gunn was fired, David Dastmalchian, an actor in the latest Marvel Studios movie Ant-Man and the Wasp wrote on Instagram, "i've been saying this FOR YEARS! @jamesgunn is one of the most amazing people I've ever known - both professionally & personally. there are so many people in our lives that we would never have known without the incredible magnet of talent & goodness that is James [...] thanks for making us a part of your family, buddy."