Disney Rehires James Gunn After Firing Him Over Controversial Tweets

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Image.
Update: Deadline reports that Disney has rehired James Gunn after firing him in 2018 over a series of over resurfaced tweets.
Gunn will, once again, direct the third installment of Guardians of the Galaxy. After he publicly apologized for the tweets, the cast of Guardians rallied around Gunn.
On Twitter, Gunn shared how grateful he was for being given a second chance. "I am tremendously grateful to every person out there who has supported me over the past few months," he wrote. "I am always learning and will continue to work at being the best human being I can be. I deeply appreciate Disney's decision and I am excited to continue making films that investigate the ties of love that bind us all. I have been, and continue to be incredibly humbled by your love and support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Love to you all."
Update 7/23: Guardians of the Galaxy stars have started taking to Twitter in response to director James Gunn's firing.
"It's been a challenging weekend I'm not gonna lie," Zoe Saldana wrote. "I'm pausing myself to take everything in before I speak out of term. I just want everyone to know I love ALL members of my GOTG family. Always will."
Chris Pratt also seemingly tweeted a response, sharing a quote from the Bible.
"'Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters. Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. JAMES 1:19,'" he wrote.
Original story published below on July 22, 1:55 p.m.
Fans of James Gunn, along with a few Hollywood stars, are pushing back on the director's firing.
A petition, started by a fan named Chandler Edwards, calls on Marvel and Disney to rehire Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Edwards writes, "If Marvel would come to their senses and re-hire Gunn that would be great but if all we can do is have proof by your signatures that Disney made a mistake i [sic] would still count that as a win."
The petition has seen support from producer/director/writer Joe Carnahan (The Blacklist, Smokin' Aces), Selma Blair, David Dastmalchian (Ant-Man and the Wasp), and garnered over 5,000 signatures.
Gunn has also received messages of support from Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista and his brother, Sean Gunn (of Gilmore Girls).
This story was previously updated at 4:30 on July 20, 2018.
James Gunn has released a statement to Refinery29 regarding his firing from Guardians of the Galaxy.
"My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative. I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don't reflect the person I am today or have been for some time.
"Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today. Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then. All I can do now, beyond offering my sincere and heartfelt regret, is to be the best human being I can be: accepting, understanding, committed to equality, and far more thoughtful about my public statements and my obligations to our public discourse. To everyone inside my industry and beyond, I again offer my deepest apologies. Love to all."
This story was originally published at 4:10 p.m. on July 19, 2018.
According to multiple reports, writer-director James Gunn has been fired from Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the firing stems from tweets which include jokes about "controversial topics such as pedophelia and rape."
In a statement to Refinery29, Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn confirmed the dismissal:
"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."
Disney owns Marvel Studios, which produces the Guardians franchise.
Gunn is the writer and director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and its sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. He was previously attached as writer and director of the third installment in the franchise, which is set to film later this year.
According to Fox News, the tweets initially circulated after conservative personalities, like OAN correspondent Jack Posobiec and commentator Mike Cernovich, unearthed them due to Gunn's criticism of Donald Trump. The tweets, which have since been deleted, were reportedly posted between 2008 and 2011.
Gunn defended the tweets on the social media platform.
"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."
"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."
"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."
Refinery29 has reached out to Gunn for comment.

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