James Gunn's Twitter past came back to haunt him in a life-changing way on Friday. Disney fired the director from "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" after it was brought to the company's attention he made some very crass jokes about rape and pedophilia nearly a decade ago.
"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 Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn in a statement.
Gunn, who wrote and directed the first two installments of the blockbuster Marvel franchise, made the cringeworthy jokes between 2008 and 2011. In a series of tweets he posted Friday, he argued they were simply provocative jokes and he has matured significantly as a person since then.
"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. 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. 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."
The filmmaker has been one of Hollywood's most vocal critics of Donald Trump on social media and it was conservative website The Daily Caller that discovered the tweets. Reporters were planning to confront Gunn at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend, as Gunn had been expected to be at Sony's presentation in Hall H Friday night, but it is unclear whether or not he will still be attending to promote a top-secret project he alluded to in a tweet a few days ago.
TooFab has reached out to Gunn's reps for comment, but they did not immediately respond. Variety reported he will no longer attend.
Gunn was in the middle of writing the script for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," which was expected to begin shooting this fall for a reported 2020 release, although it was never confirmed.