Movies & TV

Disney Fired the Guardians of the Galaxy Director After Conservatives Unearthed His Controversial Tweets

James Gunn's tweets made light of pedophilia and rape.
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Disney said on Friday that it is cutting ties with James Gunn after conservative critics resurfaced the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director's old controversial tweets. The company made the announcement at Comic-Con in San Diego, where Gunn was scheduled to appear.

"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, an outspoken critic of Donald Trump, was known for getting into heated Twitter feuds with conservatives. Amid the most recent spat, his conservative opponents unearthed tweets that joked about topics such as pedophilia and rape.

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In a series of tweets, Gunn offered this explanation: "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 continued:

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.

In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies.

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.

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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.

Gunn wrote and directed the first two Guardians movies, which hauled in more than $1.5 billion for Marvel and Disney. Shooting for Guardians 3, which Gunn was in the process of writing, was expected to begin in the fall. Disney has not yet named his replacement.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Matt Miller
Matt Miller is the Associate Culture Editor for Esquire.com
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