What was intended to be nothing more than easy-going, family-friendly fun turned into a nest of poisonous political infighting recently as the director of Guardians of the Galaxy was fired in disgrace.
Disney fired James Gunn, 51, and barred him from directing the upcoming third movie after a series of old tweets from 2008-2011 were dug up, in which the director joked about paedophilia and rape.
The jokes, reportedly found by alt-right Pizzagate conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, included…
“I like when little boys touch me in my silly place.”
“The best thing about being raped is when you’re done being raped and it’s like, ‘whew this feels great, not being raped!’”
In a statement, Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said at the time: “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.”
And in response, Gunn, who wrote and directed both of the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films and is a prominent critic of Donald Trump, issued a lengthy apology, saying: “I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore.”
This Twitter storm comes as other Hollywood figures including Roseanne Barr, Dan Harmon and Sarah Silverman have found themselves on the firing line, from both political sides, over their social media activity.
But now the entire cast of the Guardian films has released a joint statement backing Gunn and attacking the “growing political divide” and “mob mentality”.
In a statement posted on the social media accounts of many of the cast members, Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillian, Dave Bautista, Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker and Pom Klementieff also expressed their “love, support and gratitude for James”.
Some 350,000 people have signed a Change.org petition for Disney to rehire Gunn and a recent article in Variety suggests that Disney, which has so far failed to name a replacement, might even reinstate the director.
“With Walt Disney chairman Bob Iger out on vacation currently, insiders believed a decision would not be made until he returned to work,” Variety says.
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(Images: Getty / Disney)