Upon learning that he had been booted from the much-hyped trilogy, Gunn issued a statement, emphasizing that he has accepted the “business decisions taken today” and took “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,” the statement read.
As the House of Mouse followed through with sacking the filmmaker, social media users seemed to be divided on the matter. Some defended Gunn, stressing that the tweets in question dated between 2008 and 2011, and that the director had apologized for his insensitive remarks in the past.
The tweets were from nearly 10 years ago & have been apologised for since. Are Disney going to fire RDJ next because he did jail time for drug offences & they don’t want to seem to be supportive of that? Folk can change over time, Gunn & RDJ have proven that.— Fiona (@ThisLifeOfFi) 21 июля 2018 г.
God I hate social media. He did that. He apologised. He explained who he used to be not as an excuse but to show that he has changed in the last decade! Imagine if everyone’s current employer could fire them based on something they tweeted ten years ago! #ridiculous— Ruth (@BigPic_Ruth) 21 июля 2018 г.
This truly makes it harder to be excited for the next @Marvel movie.Gunn seems to have been acted well for years and well liked by his peers. Provocative experimental artists must be able to switch over to the commercial side without being haunted by their pasts. Shame on @Disney— MattLive (@mattlivese) 21 июля 2018 г.
Pretty disappointed about James Gunn. Rest assured, the stuff he tweeted YEARS ago was trash. But he apologized, and was hired by Disney. They must have accepted his apology back then. But now that some guy brings up how Gunn used to be… Disney completely drops him.— ten billion pizzas (@JacobVoshell) 21 июля 2018 г.
James Gunn should really apologize for those tweets he made a decade ago.— Jeff Gilbert (@shadoestar2071) 21 июля 2018 г.
Oh wait, he already did…back in 2012!
In honor of James Gunn, I will now start holding people to what they said 10 years ago!— Felix Anthony (@thefelixanthony) 21 июля 2018 г.
Some tried to draw parallels between the Gunn case and an incident that happened with Hollywood star Robert Downey Jr., who’s playing Iron Man in the Marvel universe, years ago:
Robert Downey Jr went to prison. Served his time and still Marvel gave him a shot of redemption. Then Disney bought Marvel and things were left as they are.— Matt Blair (@themattblair) 21 июля 2018 г.
James Gunn made bad taste jokes 10yrs ago. Apologised for them 6yrs ago. Then got hired for GotG.
His sacking is bogus.
And Since Disney decides to fire James Gunn for his mistakes in the past, RDJ will be next on the list right for what he has done in the past which are way more serious than what James has did. @Disney @MarvelStudios @DisneyStudios @RobertDowneyJr#RehireJamesGunn— X3Slayer (@lewtan698) 21 июля 2018 г.
You can disagree with me on this, but people changed. We don't look back at Robert Downey Jr. past before Iron Man and we shouldn't do this to James Gunn.:/— Crimson Mayhem [2 Days] (@mayhem_crimson) 21 июля 2018 г.
Actor Dave Bautista, who is known for the role of Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy, also took to Twitter to support Gunn:
I will have more to say but for right now all I will say is this..@JamesGunn 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. Im NOT ok with what’s happening to him— Dave Bautista (@DaveBautista) 21 июля 2018 г.
In the meantime, plenty of users spoke out against him, saying that they couldn’t ignore the statements that Gunn had made about rape and pedophilia:
James Gunn didn't make "tasteless jokes." He made completely inappropriate comments about rape and pedophilia. If he was really sorry for those tweets he wouldn't of made 10,000 of them and he should of deleted them. He's only sorry he got caught and that's the tea— Autumn🌔 (@auty_ren) 21 июля 2018 г.
— I'm a little bit disturbed by the fact that fans are ignoring how James Gunn made paedophilic and rapey "jokes" when he was in his 40s. Even the woke fans aren't talking about this— mcu confessions (@mcufandomconfes) 21 июля 2018 г.
i get that people have a dark sense of humour but james gunn literally tweeted 10k jokes regarding rape & paedophilia, when jokes are THAT constant & of that amount there's clearly some underlying truth to them— alina (@vioIentyear) 21 июля 2018 г.
While it remains unclear who will replace Gunn as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, users have suggested that it be Taika Waititi, who directed the Marvel movie “Thor: Ragnarok”:
now that james gunn is gone who will they get to direct got3, i wish there was someone who’s funny, creative, extremely talented, worked with marvel before, had at least one hit movie, i just wish there was someone like that #TaikaForGOTG3 pic.twitter.com/LLFdzgzW2O— hannah (@jbuckybrnes) 21 июля 2018 г.
I don’t think the next guardians film will be the same anymore without James Gunn unless Taika Watiti is involved….— Oliver Allen (@Ol1Allen) 20 июля 2018 г.
"James Gunn exits gotg vol. 3…"— zywen ☕ | ia bc of school (@sebastiansfluff) 20 июля 2018 г.
Before being fired, Gunn faced massive backlash on social media and beyond, emphasizing his explanation and apology in a Twitter thread:
1. Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) 20 июля 2018 г.
2. It’s not to say I’m better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) 20 июля 2018 г.
3. In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies.— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) 20 июля 2018 г.
4. For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out. I know this is a weird statement to make, and seems obvious, but, still, here I am, saying it.— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) 20 июля 2018 г.
5. Anyway, that’s the completely honest truth: I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore. I don’t blame my past self for this, but I like myself more and feel like a more full human being and creator today. Love you to you all.— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) 20 июля 2018 г.
Disney sacked Gunn after a series of his tweets, some dating back nearly a decade, resurfaced on social media. In those tweets, Gunn made controversial jokes about pedophilia and child molestation.
“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,” Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said in a statement.
Gunn has been writing the script for the third movie of the Guardians of the Galaxy, the previous two iterations of which have been huge box office hits for Disney and Marvel. The first movie made more than $773 million worldwide, while the second garnered $863 million.