James Gunn will no longer be directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Disney (which owns Marvel Studios) announced its decision over the weekend, following a handful of offensive tweets that the writer/director made nearly a decade ago resurfaced.
The tweets reappeared when Gunn got into an online clash with far-right activists. In particular Mike Cernovich (a Pizzagate conspiracy theorist), who dug up the social media posts that included inappropriate jokes about paedophilia and rape.
Naturally Disney sought to distance itself from Gunn once the tweets had resurfaced.
“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,” noted Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn in an official statement.
Following his firing, Gunn took to Twitter to try and explain his actions in a series of tweets, noting that he was a far different person 10 years ago to the one he is today. He also acknowledged that the tweets were “outrageous” and “taboo.”
The combined Twitter statement below:
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.
In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies.
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.
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.
As for what all this means for the fate of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 remains to be seen, but given the exit of James Gunn who wrote and directed the trilogy, we can likely expect delays to the third film’s 2020 release date.