Disney and Marvel are severing ties with Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn after controversial tweets from Gunn resurfaced and drew attention.
UPDATE (July 21): Actor Dave Bautista, who plays Drax the Destroyer in the Guardian of the Galaxy films and in Avengers: Infinity War, has tweeted his support for director James Gunn, promising he’ll have “more to say”:
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) July 21, 2018
UPDATE (July 20, 2:06 p.m. PT): James Gunn has released a new statement on his firing. Reported by Deadline, the director echoed many of the points he shared in a series of tweets on Thursday. His full statement reads:
“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.”
- According to the Hollywood Reporter, the decision to part with Gunn came after old tweets from the director were posted online.
- The controversial tweets touched on such topics such as pedophilia and rape. Some were posted on The Daily Caller while others were shared by Twitter users.
- Many of the tweets in question were from between 2008 and 2011.
- Gunn posted a response, saying, “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.”
- He went on to say, “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.”
- 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.”
- THR notes that Gunn had been actively working on Guardian of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which was set to start shooting in Atlanta this fall.