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

#22

i find this situation frustrating. there’s a lot of talk about ‘giving people space to grow and change’, but also he is 51 years old currently, and his estimated net worth is $40million. i really find it hard to care about him being fired, even in wildly disingenuous circumstances.

people talk as if 10 years ago is ancient history, but he was 41 and making rape jokes and AIDS jokes in a public forum (content warning for exactly what it says). it sucks that a bad faith right wing campaign is what took him down, but also, maybe, he should, fuck off, actually? this is not someone’s high school tweets being dredged up, this is a full-grown adult being held accountable for his words and actions.

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#23

One of the most disturbing aspects of this whole situation (at least imo), is the fact that people seem to be falling for the false equivalence between Gunn’s tweets and Roseanne’s (or Ben Shapiro’s). And while there are multiple aspects of that falseness that have been debunked, I haven’t seen many people pointing out the fact that Gunn’s tweets were jokes (i.e. Fiction), whereas the offensive comparison tweets are A) aimed at actual people/subordinated groups of people, and B) made with political intent to influence or oppose actual people/subordinated groups of people (i.e. Non-Fiction, Editorials, etc.).

I can’t defend the contents of Gunn’s tweets themselves in any significant way, but the conflation of fiction with reality is disturbing to me. Does this mean that any of the comics who appeared in the Aristocrats are no longer hireable? Or at least those who might make public comments against American fascism or the current regime?

The bad faith is obvious here. As someone who fucking loves the Marvel movies, this gives me major pause to pay money to see them at this point. Corporations have a duty to get these kinds of campaigns right. If they can’t bother to do research on who’s holding the (tiki) torches and pitchforks, if they themselves cannot discern between jokes aimed at no one in particular, and hate speech (not to mention literal physical abuse and violence on the part of Depp), then fuck Disney, fuck the Fox merger, and fuck Infinity War 2 (or whatever the fuck they end up calling it).

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#24

I’m sorta in the same camp. The big thing for me is that Gunn had already apologized a good while ago, and I haven’t really seen hi say or do anything too gross in the last few years besides the misogynist dialog stuff in the first GotG and Mantis’ whole place in 2. Like, he’s changing and becoming a better person.

What all this says to me is that the age of social media is a fucking hellscape where if enough people make a stink over a bad thing you said in your dumber years that you hadn’t wiped from the internet, you could lose your job and your entire ability to survive.

This Gunn situation isn’t like other victims of internet mob justice because the guy is a millionaire who’s going to be fine and probably find more work elsewhere pretty fast, but I’ve seen so many people who were far less successful have their lives ruined by these exact same tactics (sometimes by the same people) that it’s making me despise that we’re not allowed to make mistakes and learn from them as people anymore because all it takes is one obsessive jerkass with a large enough audience to sink your career.

Anyone remember that whole Nintendo Treehouse debacle? Shit, the person affected by that didn’t even say anything particularly bad, their writing was just framed incorrectly on purpose to smear her.

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#25

I’m just worried about the precedent it sets rather than how affected Gunn will be from this. He’ll land on his feet, he’ll be fine, but target that to more marginalised people in the same industry and you have mob calls for firings like the wave of studio calls after ArenaNet’s decision, and they may not be as well off afterwards.

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#26

Exactly.

Also, we have to be blind not to see this shit going on in spaces beyond angry nazi mobs. Anyone wanna go take a gander at fandom hellscapes where angry shippers try to run people out of an entire industry because they have decided to blame them for their ship not being canon (someone literally quit working on Steven Universe because of this crap).

This isn’t just about angry fascist scum, it’s about a dangerous, horrifying aspect of human culture that’s being amplified to new, unimaginable levels. Like, these tactics can be used to do good (see Roseanne Barr getting fired), but the downside is one of the single most horrifying things I have ever seen.

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#27

i worry we’re oversimplifying and slippery-sloping in an unhelpful way, though? marginalised people being run out of communities and fired from entry level jobs is materially different because the power dynamic is different. without a clear power analysis, it’s a dead end to talk about hate mobs as a broad category - akin to ‘fake news’ and its co-option into meaninglessness - and here the power analysis is not on Gunn’s side.

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#28

I am intensely uncomfortable with the notion that Gunn’s crime here was not sufficiently exorcising his past. A couple you are going “well he said bad shit so bye.” Like, are all of you ready and willing to submit to a full comprehensive dumpster dive through everything you ever said in a public space? Because I’m not! I did not leap fully formed from my own skull with the total knowledge of how social justice works and like a statistical majority of people, I was once younger and stupid. Not going back to fully delete those tweets was a mistake. I refuse to consider it a damnably one or one that deserves having a career wrecked.

And like not to put a fine point on it but sure people will still be talking about GOTG in a year or two, but is it going to still be a story about a group of traumatized people discarded by the universe to come together and heal? Is Pratt still going to be playing a man who goes from reference-dropping manchild to a more mature and compassionate human who helps the people around him? Without Gunn at the helm, I don’t know if that story gets finished and you know what, I think it’s an important one. It’s an especially important one to tell to its touted target demographic.

But hey. He said Some Shit back 10 years ago. So who cares about any evidence that he’s changed or trying to be better?

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#29

I do think this is a big issue with a lot of current leftist communities. We’d be better off if people were more open with having fucked up in the past, and recognizing many people have taken long journey’s to become better, more understanding people. There are definitely cases where forgiveness is misguided, and I’m not saying wait for bad people to improve because that can misguided at times too. And a person’s influence and power plays into it too. But, we should be considering what an induvidual has done to improve themselves and society and not just writing someone off for decade old tweets.

I would make a guess many people here have said things they’d like to take back. I have. I feel bad about shit I said a decade ago on almost a daily basis now. Im not saying I should unearth my old Facebook posts or anything, but being open about being imperfect allows me to use it as an opportunity to examine why and how I’ve changed since then, and help others sorting similar shit out too.

So when looking at a situation like this with James Gunn, I haven’t examined his every action closely, but just from a simple web search I see a man who is trying to figure shit out, who isn’t perfect, but is looking to improve, and is using their platform as a director of a Marvel franchise to provide a message of disregarded people healing through togetherness. It’s by no means a perfect series, but it’s much more powerful than it could have been. I’m more willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I don’t want to live in a world where only James Gunn’s are directing big budget films, but this is a bad reason to fire him.

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#30

I’m more of the mind that when this phenomenon manages to affect someone as powerful as Gunn, imagine how utterly screwed we are as a society. Capitalism is broken, and this trend of people identifying so heavily with their media that they’re willing to try and ruin people because of that identity scares the ever loving shit out of me and a whole lot of critics out there. I’m not just speaking as a bi or latino guy here, but also someone who’s terrified of my only creative outlet that seems to be the only thing I’m doing that’s getting any traction being robbed from me because someone with a big enough audience decided I was wrong about a thing in fiction they’re obsessed with.

Fascists pulling the same crap is for slightly different reasons, but for the exact same sort of reasoning, an fragile sense of self that sets off an aggressive response when at all challenged because that point of view has somehow become a corner stone of their own identity.

There’s a reason why so many gamers became nazis. When your narcissism, self-loathing, and lack of self-definition grows to a certain level, you’ll latch onto whatever paints you as some persecuted hero who’s always right to somehow justify these emotions. Nazis, cults, and toxic fandoms all function with these elements and attract others because of it.

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#31

It’s hard for me to square this, because as other have pointed out, Gunn wasn’t some 20-year-old dipshit making AIDS and rape jokes for laughs - he was freaking 41.

But is there an age when someone’s capacity to change no longer applies? I can tell you that 10 years ago, in my 30s, I would have called myself apolitcal, someone who didn’t care much about anything past their own nose. I lacked empathy, would shit-test certain friends just to get a reaction, and troll people online without thought. All that changed as I entered my late 30s, into my 40s, just a slow creep of trying to be better, treating my friends better, and even my approach to strangers online.

So when Gunn says a bunch of shitty tweets don’t represent how he is today, that’s something that needs to be taken into serious consideration. As does the circumstance of a pathetically transparent smear campaign orchestrated by a bad actor like Cernovich.

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#32

Yeah. It would be one thing if Gunn was still publicly being an obnoxious troll, but he’s not. It’s not like he’s genuinely done anything to people other than tell garbage shock jokes (that are absolutely truly garbage, I can’t stress enough), so treating him like someone who’s done real, horrible harm seems like an over-reaction to me, even with his wealth and age.

I mean, at a certain point, we need to kind of weigh who deserves our ire. I totally get not liking Gunn (seriously, absolutely none of those “”“jokes”"" are defend-able), but he’s is a victim in this, and I’d say he didn’t deserve any of it.

Him ten years ago? Oh absolutely. But now? No.

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#33

i don’t agree, and i think we’re straying into theoreticals. i’m sure he has grown and changed over years, and i certainly don’t think he should go to jail or receive real harsh punishment for some old tweets, but i also don’t think “no longer being given millions of dollars to direct movies” counts as a harsh punishment; more, that’s a wildly disproportionate reward which he no longer has access to. and that’s fine! that’s how it should be!

im not certain i’m expressing myself perfectly here, but i think drawing equivalency between gunn losing his huge privileges and a queer person being fired for being queer (as i’ve seen here) flattens the power dynamics which are actually what we should focus on.

the issue is always about complex material power, not being fired or losing a job in and of itself.

#34

The thing is that if someone as high up on the totem poll as Gunn can be affected by these sorts of people and tactics, with all his privilege (which he will definitely regain a fraction of soon enough), then that should be a worrying reminder if just how vulnerable the rest of us are.

Gunn is a canary in a coal mine in this situation, because he is the first target successfully hit who has real wealth, privilege, and power. That’s REALLY bad for all of us.

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#35

Guardians 2 is one of the most cynical and mean spirited movies I’ve ever sat through, so its weird to me that he’d be fired over awful tweets. You’re gonna tell me the guy who made Super and Slither…has a shitty sense of humor? Did Disney not know who they were hiring to make these movies?

I’m biased on this because I don’t like Gunn as a director and some of the news around the Guardians 1 script made me like him even less. I agree that Disney firing Gunn while still backing up even worse Hollywood men is terrible, but I’m not sure James Gunn is someone we need to go up to bat for, alt-right dogpile or not.

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#36

i mean no offense but if we are using james gunn as a stand-in barometer for people who arent white guys getting kicked off of projects due to alt-right hate mobs, what about the dozens of women who have already been harassed off of social media? like i get where you’re coming from with this being an indicator of what could (continue to) happen but those indicators have already been popping off extremely frequently for as long as twitter has existed, and the thing that “could” happen to us has already been happening, so it just rings hollow that this particular firing tells us anything new about the situation we have already been in for years.

like yes it is bad for all of us but it’s been bad for all of us so i don’t get why we’re gonna expend energy rallying around some whedon-type dipshit, outside of making sure the “alt-right hate mob” part of this story doesnt get pushed to the side

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#37

Speaking personally, as someone who has said and done a lot of dumb crap in my past, I don’t think his god awful humor is on the same level of Joss Whedon using his position of power to both cheat on his wife and get younger actresses to sleep with him. I mean, it sucks, but he’s stepped away from a lot of that and hasn’t actually harmed anyone. I don’t see them as comparable beyond their positions of privilege.

And yes, it’s because he has so much privilege and wealth that has me in such a tissy, because if a multi-million Hollywood director can be damaged by these sorts of people, then that just cements that our current online ecosystem has no defense mechanism in place for anyone, and that means we’re even more vulnerable then I ever realized.

I know this is already happening to us, but with the way politics are going today and this news, it’s just now hitting me that we need to start thinking about what to do about all this because it sure does look like this is going to become an inescapable part of all of our lives even more than initially thought.

Sorry if it came off like I was writing off all the women affected by these people, but the Gunn news is genuinely shocking because I honestly thought this sort of thing was impossible (by that I mean someone that powerful being vulnerable to alt-right bad actors).

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#38

As has been pointed out, 10 years ago when he was a 41-year-old man is very different than 10 years ago in high school. I know if you dug up my online posts from 10 years ago they wouldn’t be good, but I was also a teenager at the time.

#39

The natural conclusion of this line of reasoning is that people above a particular age are automatically beyond redemption. I’m not comfortable with that conclusion.

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#40

i don’t think that’s the natural conclusion at all, and i don’t think anyone’s suggesting someone is ‘beyond redemption’, but they are suggesting that ‘redemption’ need not include ‘directing a billion dollar franchise’.

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#41

So your natural conclusion is that anyone above a particular wealth/success level is beyond redemption?

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