James Gunn rehired to direct 'Guardians of the Galaxy 3' after getting fired for offensive tweets
James Gunn directed the first two 'Guardians of the Galaxy' movies, which were wildly successful, earning more than $1.6 billion worldwide. However, last March, Disney abruptly fired the critically acclaimed director after his old, offensive tweets resurfaced. The tweets dated from 2008 to 2011, and contained tasteless jokes about sensitive subjects like pedophilia and rape.
The campaign to fire Gunn, an outspoken Trump critic, was spearheaded by right-wing provocateur Mike Cernovich, as reported by SF Gate. "Twitter is just modern-day gladiatorial combat," explained Cernovich, "The Harvey Weinstein case showed us that Hollywood is rotten to the core. We are continuing our investigation into the conduct and behavior of members of the Hollywood elite." More people might lose their jobs in the future, he warned Hollywood.
Upon learning the full story about the controversy, Marvel fans were upset that Disney caved in to disingenuous alt-right trolls. They found the decision to fire Gunn unfair, since he admitted the tweets were indefensible, and apologized for his shameful behavior. In statements released on Twitter and to the media, Gunn explained that he is not the same person he was a decade ago:
"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."
Following the firing, Dave Bautista, who plays Drax in 'Guardians', leapt to the director's defense. "James Gunn is one of the most loving, caring, good natured people I have ever met," Bautista tweeted. "He’s gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He’s made mistakes. We all have."
Shortly afterward, Chris Pratt, who plays Star Lord, shared an open letter calling for Gunn's reinstatement as director, signed by the whole cast of Guardians. "Although I don’t support James Gunn’s inappropriate jokes from years ago, he is a good man," wrote Pratt. "I’d personally love to see him reinstated as director of Volume 3."
In a stunning turn of events, this morning Disney announced that James Gunn has been rehired to direct Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Deadline reports that the negotiations got a little complicated, due to Gunn's commitment to direct Suicide Squad 2 for Warner Bros/DC Comics. However, Marvel Studios never seriously considered hiring anyone else for the project, so they came to an agreement: Gunn will start production on Guardians 3 after Suicide Squad 2 wraps.
On Twitter, the 52-year-old thanked his fans for the support. "I am tremendously grateful to every person out there who has supported me over the past few months," he wrote. "I am always learning and will continue to work at being the best human being I can be. I deeply appreciate Disney's decision and I am excited to continue making films that investigate the ties of love that bind us all. I have been, and continue to be incredibly humbled by your love and support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Love to you all."