James Gunn has been fired as director of Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
The decision to remove Gunn from the project arrived on Friday after conservative uncovered old tweets by Gunn in which the filmmaker joked about controversial topics such as pedophilia and rape.
Gunn has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump over the past several months and, some believe, had been targeted by Republicans such as Jack Posobiec.
But that doesn’t change the fact that Gunn did write the Tweets in question.
“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 announcing Gunn’s departure.
Gunn directed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and was hired awhile back to helm its follow-up.
The very old Tweets at the center of this scandal have since been deleted, but Internet users posted screenshots that appear to show the director had written jokes about assault and other subjects.
A sample: “Laughter is the best medicine. That’s why I laugh at people with AIDS.”
Another: “The best thing about being raped is when you’re done being raped and it’s like ‘whew this feels great, not being raped!'”
On Thursday, in response to this growing scandal, Gunn Tweeted:
“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.”
“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.”
Most of the inappropriate messages were sent in 2008 and 2009.
They were dug up by conservative outlet The Daily Caller.
Gunn issued a statement on Friday afternoon, saying that he “regretted” the tweets in question and stressed that “they don’t reflect the person I am today.”
The director added in his lengthy response to the flap:
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.
Gunn has been penning the script for Guardians 3, and the film was expected to begin shooting in Atlanta in the fall for an expected 2020 release date.
He had been keeping fans apprised of his progress via social media messages such as the following:
Marvel has not yet announced a replacement for Gunn.
Do you think he deserved to be fired for these Tweets?