James Gunn Fired as Director of 'GotG Vol. 3'


#1

For those of you not glued to Twitter on a Friday afternoon (but are glued to Waypoint, I guess?) Disney has fired James Gunn, after some old tweets of his resurfaced in the past day.

This is a tough one. I haven’t seen any reports with the contents of the actual tweets, but they allude to some disturbing and clearly inappropriate stuff. Seems clear cut until you realize that the “conservative personalities” referenced by THR is basically GamerGate meathead and rape enthusiast Mike Cernovich.

Particularly galling is that Gunn apologized for those tweets in 2012, so Disney either failed to do their due diligence or decided they were acceptable. (And why the hell would he not delete them?)

I really don’t know how I feel about this. It is patently unfair that MC managed to get Gunn fired despite the truly vile shit he has written and tweeted himself, particularly when Gunn’s tweets appear to be ill-conceived jokes while Cernovich’s are intended as lifestyle advice for young men.

On the other hand, if they’re as bad as reports are alluding to, can you really just ignore them? Treat them like evidence discovered during an illegal search and just toss them out of the court of public opinion?

It’s really hard to fight a culture war as asymmetrical as this.


#2

Quick footnote: any clear-thinking, good faith conservatives left in this country should read Mike Cernovich non-chalantly referred to as a “conservative personality” and throw up in their mouths a little as the true face of their ideology is further revealed.


#3

I think it’s wholly unfair. The tweets in question are 6-9 years old. They’re some pretty gross jokes based around pedophilia, but not completely surprising coming from someone that used to work for Troma. I mean… did Disney not know who they were hiring? And how did they not go in and scrub his Twitter themselves before this happened?

He should not have been fired over this. Delete the tweets, make an apology, and let it blow over. It’s not like they can take back Guardians 1 and 2, which are some of the best movies the MCU has to offer.


#4

Disney still making Pirates movies? They are? Then what the fuck kind of moral stance do they think they’re taking? I’m not gonna defend what Gunn tweeted out, but Disney knew they were working with a Troma director, and he’d already been raked over the coals for what he’d said in the past, so this response is practically comical. I doubt there was even logic behind it, Disney saw “CONTROVERSY” and sacked him.


#5

I was under the impression he did delete these tweets and the alt-right were bringing it up again.


#6

I’m worried about how GG can rally and get someone in a position that high up fired. I’m worried about how this and arenanet means that this will continue happening. I’m also really worried about how this affects things like the MeToo movement.

I know a lot of people who are a bit both sidesy, and will say things like “Well did he really have to lose his job? Is this mob justice?” I’ve had conversations with family members, and I think a lot of them can honestly be reached and could come to understand the importance of not giving Harvey Weinstein types a platform. And the thing I’m worried about is how this impacts our ability to reach those people. To that type of person, who thinks the ousting of Louis CK is mob justice, this actual instance of a right wing mob might reinforce their view. And yeah I just hate that this could undermine the bits of progress the culture has made this year in not tolerating harassers.


#7

I have thoughts:

  1. As someone who’s thankfully not a victim of sexual assault, it’s not really my place to say whether Gunn’s apology in 2012 was acceptable or not, but if this is the line Disney is gonna draw then they need to take a real thorough look at their portfolio.

  2. Regardless of what you think of Gunn or what he’s said in the past or his apology or whatever, resurrecting his deleted tweets and using them like bullets in a gun is undeniably, unquestionably an attack by bad-faith actors. Even if you think he deserved to lose his job behind this, the fact that these actors are waving around his career like a trophy kill is bad shit.

  3. Thoughts and prayers to Patrick whose tweet has generated over 900 comments (and growing) in the past couple hours, mostly right-wing dogs responding to the dinner bell judging from a cursory glance.


#8

You can bet that alt-right figureheads and closet nazis (Boogie) will seize on this instance as fuel for a culture war. “SJW Game Journalist Defends Pedophile Director” is an incredibly easy way to mobilize the legions of useful idiots.


#10

I’ll just copy a tweet I’ve made:

What’s awful about this is how this is such a cynical evil strategy. They’ve co-opted #MeToo and used those rules to take somebody down. Now they can say “you were okay with firing Weinstein, this is the same thing.” This isn’t just taking down Gunn, it discredits real victims.


#11

Everything I hear about this sounds like the likes of Gaters and similar online harassers targeting an individual, the fact they had to go dredge up tweets already deleted and apologised for lets you know how far they’re stretching it.


#12

This is transparently the same playbook as with Sam Seder, down to the exact timing by Scumbag Cernovitch.

Compared to most other potential targets, I think James Gunn is one of the more visibly reformed Ex-Shitty People, both in word and deed. He appears to have vocally apologized for this exact thing already in the past and has since championed (relatively more) progressive causes.

I am extremely disappointed in most sites’ incomplete coverage of the whole series of events, consistently burying the lead about Actual Rapist Cernovitch’s bad faith involvement. Polygon actually has some of the best reportage on the case here.


#13

All this stuff is a fair read and Mike Cernovich is a nasty garbage man and his gg cronies are scum, but also those tweets sucked ass and I don’t feel bad for James Gunn.


#14

I’m completely disgusted by all this. This is the current crisis in the social justice movement, the fact that we need to learn to forgive people and let them grow. Gunn said Some Shit in the past, shit that was bad, and that if it came out of anyone’s mouth today I would say kick em out. But this was years ago and while his work is by no means perfect, it’s… the work of someone who is trying to do better. GOTG is about people who try to be more compassionate. It comes from such a real place-- god. Sucks, sucks, sucks.

This isn’t Roseanne pandering to racist and transphobic elements in our country today and then finally crossing the corporate line. It’s someone that I really believe had grown into a better person who just got screwed. And it sucks.


#15

I think it’s important to remember that fascists created a harassment campaign around this. It wasn’t social justice randomly striking out and lacking compassion; it was a specific campaign from the far-Right to try and attack the employment of someone they don’t want to have a platform because he has been outspoken against fascism.

The crisis, I would posit, is in the HR offices of media companies who are blindsided by these reactionaries trying to exploit their desire to avoid anything the company might perceive as negative PR. They don’t have expertise in tracking far-Right movements and being able to competently react to them (or possibly the executives don’t care to - which would be the ArenaNet most likely situation). While I wouldn’t claim GG cost Intel $300m (the diversity plan was almost certainly already planned at that scale, it was just good timing to link the announcement to the apology), this stuff is going to impact these companies and they should be staffing up to deal with it. Anything else is negligent.

Edit: I’d say that maybe the bigger picture for some of those behind this is to try and leverage such reactions into making it so that it is no longer seen as viable to fire Roseanne. They want to make it so that they can march under neo-Nazi banners on Saturday and stroll back into work on Monday, insulated from any consequences.


#16

While @Shivoa is correct - that this was a collective action perpetrated by members of the right - I have absolutely seen conversation around this that amounts to “people are defending him cuz he’s an ally”. There are completely those who have committed heinous transgressions under the cover of allyship (NR, CH, ML, and so on) who should not be forgiven or covered for simply because their behavior makes us uncomfortable with the high esteem to which we previously held them. However, I don’t think this is one of those cases.

All of the factors at play - the timeframe, the change in attitude, the vocal criticism of abusers like Trump and those in his administration. and his criticism of disgusting, toxic fandom - suggest that this is, indeed, a specter of his past. We can’t know what is in his heart, but because of that uncertainty, we should also be clear with ourselves: what, exactly, can one be forgiven for, and what, exactly, does one need to do to earn that forgiveness?


#17

I’m a different person than what I was 10 years ago. But at the end of the day, do provocative tweets do anything to help a career? He should have known better. Those “jokes” were awful. If it helps to stamp out the garbage edge-lord behavior forever, then good riddance.

Alas, the exposure of the tweets were done in bad faith and by 1 of a million right-wing hypocrites. It would be nice if they believed their own pearl-clutching. But we know they don’t care. Just another day in their scorched-earth culture war. At least WE should hold bad behavior accountable.

James Gunn should take his licks and do his penance. His career will survive after a bit. Hollywood loves a comeback story.


#18

In 6 months few people will remember this and no one will be talking about it. People will still be talking about GotG though.

I’m fairly confident he will land on his feet.


#19

Disney has just set a very dangerous precedent. Given what’s been going on in the wake of the Arenanet debacle, it has just granted extra legitimacy to a rabid mob who will manufacture fake outrage to get people who disagree with their hateful views fired. I mean the guy leading the thing is an actual rape apologist for fuck’s sake!

The fact that Roseanne Barr had to make several shows of actual racism while in the employ of Disney before getting fired, and that Johnny Depp also still gets to work there, reeks of cowardice and hypocrisy. And if we are to follow Disney’s logic, no-one is ever letting Polanski and Woody Allen make a movie again, right?

Also, several very smart people have been theorizing that this campaign has been a trial run for a much larger one against Kathleen Kennedy, which I find kind of terrifying.


#20

It’s incredibly frustrating, these people are very good at target harassment and take-downs, because that’s their whole lives as far as I can tell, it doesn’t help that we live as such under the mercy of spineless corporations, they’d rather please a small vocal mob to stave away controversy than investigate the situation.

While the situation is slightly different, I certainly thought of the ArenaNet decision as a parallel, if not a catalyst for more calls for firings by bad faith parties. An employer who doesn’t investigate the situation further might hear “Gunn makes pedophilic jokes” or “Price was incredibly rude to customers” and refuse to hire them without recognising that it’s more complicated, and imo completely unwarranted in the first place.


#21

What’s staggering is that it took months of progressives pointing out how awful Roseanne Barr is before Disney fired her, but it took all of a day for Gunn to get fired for 10-year-old tweets.

The one thing I’m struggling with is why companies cave to right-wingers so easily while it takes incredible effort for progressives to get those same companies to make positive changes.

Yeah absolutely. I wasn’t trying to say that the situations were the same, but I think the precedent both companies have now set will unfortunately be similar in terms of caving to weaponized manufactured mob outrage.