“The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’s 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 Friday.
The shocking tweets, published between 2009 and 2012, and since deleted (albeit not permanently, as one can see below), were unearthed by conservative pundits Jack Posobiec and Mike Cernovich, and involve a series of NSFW homophobic, transphobic, and rape- and pedophilia-related jokes.
The duo appeared to target Gunn for his outspoken and unrelenting criticism of President Donald Trump and his right-wing policies.
In response to the burgeoning firestorm around the old tweets, Gunn shut down his personal website and took to Twitter to apologize for the comments, saying they stemmed from an earlier point in his career when he was trying to brand himself a “provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo”:
Gunn’s scheduled San Diego Comic-Con panel at 6:15 p.m. PST with brother Brian Gunn, cousin Mark Gunn, and director David Yarovesky to announce a mystery Sony project was canceled, along with his planned interview with Yahoo Entertainment at the convention.
Gunn, 51, who masterminded the entire Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, had been a key creative force within Marvel. Vol. 3 was set to debut in theaters in 2020; Gunn had recently completed the script and co-star Pom Klementieff (Mantis) told Yahoo earlier Friday, before the controversy erupted, that she was looking forward to re-team with the director on the next film. There is no immediate word on who will replace Gunn on the franchise, but the studio will likely take its time to find a new filmmaker.
Disney had no choice but to terminate Gunn after establishing a no-tolerance policy for such outrageous opinions. In May, Roseanne Barr was fired by Disney from her highly rated ABC reboot Roseanne over a racist tweet (which she’s still defending) directed at Valerie Jarrett, an African-American woman who was a senior adviser and influential aid to President Barack Obama. And just yesterday, Mark Duplass found out that inappropriate tweets can have serious repercussions, after his Twitter defense of outspoken conservative Ben Shapiro resulted in a vehement backlash.
We’ll have more on this story as it unfolds.
Read more at Yahoo Entertainment: