In today’s day and age, numerous celebrities have had the proverbial hammer brought down on them for their public comments and social media posts. Should James Gunn have been fired by Disney for his comments?
We all know the pitfalls of social media in today’s world. Whether you’re a celebrity with a platform to speak on issues or just a regular person trying to find a job, the things you post on social media can come back to haunt you. Employers often do background checks on their prospective employees and check their Facebook and Twitter pages for things like racist, sexist or offensive comments and pictures.
Celebrities are no exception, as we’ve seen multiple actors, actresses, athletes and political figures lose their jobs and careers over offensive posts. Most recently, Roseanne Barr was fired by ABC over her racist comments and the Roseanne revival series was briefly cancelled before being saved (without Barr’s participation).
The “newest” case regarding Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has resurfaced after nearly a decade. Gunn, a proud liberal, makes a habit of calling out various political figures regularly on Twitter and got into a heated argument with journalist Mike Cernovich. Cernovich did some digging around Gunn’s old tweets and personal webpage and uncovered some highly controversial comments, in which he called out Gunn for.
While Gunn responded to Cernovich’s allegations and has since apologized for the past comments, the issue at hand isn’t whether Gunn should have been forgiven for making the comments, but whether he should have been fired for them. While it’s easy to sit back and think that because these comments were made so long ago he should be in the clear, the greater moral discussion should come into play. Is it ok to make terrible comments and have time go by and be forgiven for them? Or should there be some kind of repercussion to his actions regardless of the passage of time?
Without fully knowing just what goes on in the mind of someone like James Gunn that would warrant making comments like these, it’s impossible to tell if they were truly “just jokes” or if there is something more nefarious for a person like him to even have those kinds of thoughts in the first place. For instance, one of Gunn’s tweets reads: “I like it when little boys touch me in my silly place. Shhh!“. Another reads: “I’m doing a big Hollywood adaptation of The GivingTree with a happy ending – the tree grows back and gives the kid a blowjob“.
Not only did Gunn tweet deplorable things like this, but also recounted a story from the set of Max Keeble’s Big Move where a monkey ejaculated on a kid. On his personal website (now defunct), Gunn describes the incident with the child and monkey in detail: “The trainer was too late. It only took the monkey a few seconds to bring himself to completion. A string of semen shot out of the mini-monkey-wood and splash-landed DIRECTLY ON THE KID. I know it might be sick, but that story makes me extremely happy,” Gunn wrote.
The list doesn’t end here, as numerous other tweets can be seen showing everything from 9-11 jokes to holocaust jokes to rape jokes, showing that there is a pattern and history of Gunn’s twisted musings.
For a company such as Disney, who makes and markets their products to children, to continue employing a person like Gunn or anyone else, would have been impossible. There is proof in the pudding regarding how James Gunn thinks and has no problem voicing these thoughts. All of the apologies in the world can’t save someone from making the type of remarks that he has made, and now should be the time to say “no more”. With the advent of the #MeToo movement and other causes for individuals and communities to speak out against predators, sexists, racists, and the like; it’s amazing to think that there are people out there whom knowingly defend these actions. Sure, the subjectivity of humor is very broad and there are people who are more easily offended by things than others, but at what point do we as people need to realize that these kinds of comments and actions can ruin lives?
A rape victim hearing a rape joke will certainly not be amused. A pedophilia victim hearing a pedophile joke will certainly not be amused. While there is no law preventing jokes like these from being told, there should be a sense of moral fiber in each person that says “no, that isn’t ok”. Each case and each individual will be different from the last and people are free to either enjoy or despise the comments; but in terms of being employed by a company that markets products to children, this matter should be an easy one to discern.
At the time of the original draft of this article, there was no word on the fate of Gunn and his employment with Disney. However, as the day progressed and Gunn was set to appear at a Sony panel during San Diego Comic-Con, the news broke that Disney had indeed fired him from the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 film. While the damage had already been done and his fate sealed, Gunn would issue a statement regarding his firing and apologized for his comments. Too little, too late.
The debate on Disney’s decision is sure to be a hot topic as San Diego Comic Con is in full swing. There are going to be people on both sides of the issue. But the question people need to ask themselves is this: Knowing what you now know, would you be comfortable taking YOUR child to see a film like Guardians of the Galaxy directed by a man who publicly tweeted: “Just made a joke about ass-raping my friend while she was asleep” or “Laughter is the best medicine. That’s why I laugh at people with AIDS“?
Should James Gunn have been fired for his actions, or should he have been forgiven and left to continue on with Disney? Sure, people can change and do so everyday. But what would stop someone in a high-profile position like Gunn from continuing this behavior either publicly or privately if he thought he could get away with it? While there is no evidence that he ever physically acted out any of the things he said, there’s just no room in the world for this kind of behavior.
Now that you have had time to process the news and have had the chance to read some of the horrible things James Gunn has posted over the years, has your initial opinion changed? Or do you believe that he truly did no wrong and was unjustifiably terminated? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.