James Gunn has been fired as director of the Guardians Of The Galaxy series after a series of old, controversial social media posts resurfaced online. The posts touched on topics of rape and pedophilia, with some saying things like: “I’m doing a big Hollywood film adaptation of The Giving Tree with a happy ending – the tree grows back and gives the kid a b–w job.”
The posts, which have been deleted for some time, resurfaced due to his outspoken criticism of President Donald Trump, according to Fox News. The Daily Caller dug up the social media posts, which were quickly shared by conservative personalities on Twitter, urging fans to confront Gunn at Comic-Con. Gunn had been expected to be at Sony’s presentation Friday. Insiders say Gunn is not expected to be part of the panel, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn told The Hollywood Reporter that the company severed ties with Gunn after learning about the tweets.
Disney responded quickly to the tweets, stating: “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 Horn in a statement.
Gunn has received a torrent of backlash across the web, with many fans demanding his immediate removal from the franchise, and others calling for a boycott of the films.
“So is everyone gonna boycott future Guardians movies because James Gunn making gross pedophilr [sic]/rape jokes things on Twitter?,” asked one fan. “And then boycott those actors who continue to act in movies with him? And all of Marvel for continuing to hire him?”
Gunn shared two tweets in 2009 joking about sexual assault towards women. “The best thing about being raped is when you’re done being raped and it’s like ‘whew this feels great, not being raped!’”, he tweeted in February, 2009. He also tweeted his curiosity on “which Disneyland character would be the worst to get raped by.”
Other tweets involved pro-pedophilia comments, with one stating: “I like it when little boys touch me in my silly place. Shhh!” and another that read: “The Expendables was so manly I f–ked the s–t out of the little p—y boy next to me! The boys ARE back in town!”
On a Twitter thread, Gunn offered an explanation for the old tweets, claiming that he was no longer the person that posted the offensive tweets so many years ago.
“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,” he posted on Twitter.
He added: “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.”