Disney fires James Gunn over provocative old tweets

Last Updated : 21 July 2018, 06:09 IST
Last Updated : 21 July 2018, 06:09 IST

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Disney has removed James Gunn as the director of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" after the filmmaker's old offensive tweets resurfaced.

In the old tweets, screenshots of which are available online, the 51-year-old director cracked crude jokes dealing with paedophilia and rape.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Walt Disney Studios released a statement in response to the controversy, saying they have removed the filmmaker as the director of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3", which was expected to start shooting later this year.

"The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’s Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him," Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, said in the statement.

The screenshots of Gunn's tweets, which ranged from 2009 through 2012, were shared by a conservative website The Daily Caller.

Gunn, who has been quite vocal in his criticism of US President Donald Trump, issued an apology on Twitter and claimed that he has changed over the years.

"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 humour," Gunn wrote.

"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," he said in another tweet.

The filmmaker also issued a statement where he "regretted" the tweets and stressed that "they don't reflect the person I am today".

"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," Gunn said.

"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," he added.

Gunn, who made a name for himself with indie films such as "Slither" and "Super", is credited for the success of Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" and its sequel.

The original film grossed USD 773 million worldwide while the sequel, which opened last year, raked in USD 864 million.

The director was in the middle of writing the script for the third film, which was scheduled to begin shooting in Atlanta in the fall for a 2020 release date.

Published 21 July 2018, 05:56 IST

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