Disney fired writer-director James Gunn from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise on Friday after old tweets surfaced showing him joking about rape and pedophilia.
“My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative,” Gunn said in a statement. “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,” he continued. “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.”
Online sleuths began digging up tweets that Gunn admitted were “offensive,” many from between 2008 and 2011, after right-wing provocateur Mike Cernovich posted a series of old tweets by Gunn, in which he made offensive jokes about taboo topics like rape and pedophilia. Many of the tweets have since been deleted.
Gunn previously apologized in a series of tweets late Thursday and tried to explain and defend himself.
On Friday, Disney dropped Gunn from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise.
“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,” said Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, in a statement.
Gunn’s firing leaves a big question for Disney’s multi-billion dollar Marvel Cinematic Universe. Last month Gunn tweeted that he’d finished the script for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” The studio will now need to find someone to replace him as director.
The film was expected to be released in 2020.
“Guardians of the Galaxy,” which Gunn wrote and directed, earned $773.3 million at the worldwide box office back in 2014, and the sequel, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which he also wrote and directed, pulled in $863.8 last year.
9 Stars Who Faced Consequences After Inappropriate Tweets, From Roseanne to Alec Baldwin (Photos)
It wasn't what football star Chad Ochocinco tweeted, but when he tweeted that got him in trouble. Ochocinco was fined $25,000 by the NFL after tweeting during a football game he was playing in. "Man I'm sick of getting hit like that , its the damn preseason [expletive]! 1day I'm gone jump up and start throwing hay makers , #Tylenolplease," he wrote. He sent another tweet at the end of the game apologizing, adding, "1st time twitter hasn't made me money but cost me money."
Gilbert Gottfried - March 2011
Gilbert Gottfried is known for shocking audiences, but his joke about a tsunami that hit Japan didn't go over so well with insurance company Aflac. Gottfried voiced the Aflac duck in the company's commercials for 11 years but was fired when he tweeted, "I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, 'There'll be another one floating by any minute now."
Alec Baldwin - June 2013
Alec Baldwin came under fire back in 2013 when he tweeted threatening, homophobic comments to a reporter who wrote a story that Baldwin's wife tweeted during the funeral for James Gandolfini. "If (sic) put my foot up your f—ing ass, George Stark, but I'm sure you'd dig it too much," said Baldwin. He followed that with: "I'm gonna find you, George Stark, you toxic little queen, and I'm gonna f— … you … up." He later apologized directly to GLAAD and briefly suspended his use of Twitter.
CeeLo Green - Sept. 2014
Singer CeeLo Green's show "The Good Life" was canceled by TBS in the same week that Green both pleaded no contest to a felony charge and tweeted the following about rape: “People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!" He also said, "If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously! so WITH Implies consent.” Green later apologized.
Rosie O'Donnell - Dec. 2017
Rosie O'Donnell was slapped by Twitter itself after telling conservative pundit Ben Shapiro to "suck my d---." Shapiro reported her, and after Twitter initially said the tweet did not violate its policy, Shapiro cried double standard. Twitter reversed its position soon after and removed her tweets.
David Eason - Feb. 2018
David Eason, who starred on MTV's "Teen Mom 2," was fired from the show in February after tweeting homophobic comments. He referred to gay and transgender people as "abominations" who he would teach his kids not to associate with.
James Gunn - July 2018
Director James Gunn was fired from Marvel and Disney's "Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise after a series of old tweets of his resurfaced making "offensive" jokes about rape and pedophilia. Gunn apologized for the tweets, and the stars of "Guardians of the Galaxy," most notably actor Dave Bautista, defended Gunn and asked that he be reinstated as director.
James Woods - Sept. 2018
Actor James Woods found himself locked out from Twitter after sharing a meme that was considered potentially "misleading" about the midterm elections. Woods is a noted conservative known for his often inflammatory right-wing commentary. He even revealed on Twitter he was dropped by his agent on July 4, who said he was feeling "patriotic" to no longer represent Woods. Fellow pundits accused Twitter of a liberal bias with an attempt to silence conservative voices. Woods was eventually reinstated to Twitter in October and said he did not delete the offending tweet in order to get reinstated. "As a conservative I am not about to walk on eggshells because of Twitter’s bias or liberal insanity in general,” Woods said upon returning to Twitter.
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Rosie O’Donnell, Gilbert Gottfried and Chad Ochocinco got slapped with more than just backlash after these social media faux pas