Home Entertainment Dave Bautista, Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker and more all show support for GOTG director James Gunn after firing

Dave Bautista, Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker and more all show support for GOTG director James Gunn after firing

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This weekend past should have been a time for Marvel’s competitors to take the limelight as the comic book movie studio skipped San Diego Comic-Con for the year. A brewing story outside the convention halls seemed to dwarf all however after it was revealed that Marvel owners Disney had fired Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker James Gunn after offensive tweets from nearly 10 years ago were unearthed. That it was a controversial convicted rapist conspiracy theory nutjob that did the unearthing is a story for another day, what is important here now is both Gunn’s response to his dismissal and the fallout.

In his response, Gunn apologised and took responsibility for his past actions, accepting his dismissal. He also tried to explain though that he was a very different person back when he tweeted those offensive jokes (some of which referenced rape, paedophilia, AIDS, and more taboo topics) as he often tried shock tactics to get his name out there. Admittedly, since shooting to superstardom with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, Gunn’s public persona and work have indeed appeared reflective of that change in his personality as he has been very vocal about numerous social issues. This was also not some dark secret swept under his rug as in 2011 he spoke about this as well as part of an apology for another old social media post which had been considered homophobic.

And that change is why a large number of people are taking issue with Disney’s handling of the matter, as many feel that the House of Mouse is sending the message that even if people better themselves, they will always be punished for the wrongs they once did. Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista was one of the first big names to speak out about this, tweeting out that he was “not OK” with what had happened to Gunn.

In a series of tweets on his timeline, Sean Gunn, James’ brother and the actor who motion-captures Guardians of the Galaxy’s Rocket Raccoon and plays Kraglin in the comic book franchise, also revealed his dissatisfaction with what had transpired.

I hope it goes without saying that I love and support my brother James. And I’m quite proud of how kind, generous, and compassionate he is with the people in his life, whether they are friends, family, colleagues, fans, or strangers. Since he was a kid, it was clear he had a desire (maybe destiny) to be an artist, tell stories, find his voice through comics, films, his band. The struggle to find that voice was sometimes clunky, misguided, or downright stupid, and sometimes wonderful, moving, and hilarious.

Since devoting his entire life to the Guardians movies and MCU six years ago, I’ve seen him channel that voice into his work on those movies and seen him transform from the guy who made up things to shock people. I saw firsthand as he went from worrying about “softening his edge” for a larger audience to realizing that his “edge” wasn’t as useful of a tool as he thought it was. That his gift for storytelling was something better. I saw that he was more open-hearted than the guy who needed to get a rise out of people by making nasty or offensive jokes (or whatever you choose to call them–I don’t think his bluer material was ever his funniest and neither does Mom).

In many respects this change in my brother was reflected in the change that the Guardians go through. I’ve heard my brother say many times that when Quill rallies the team with “this is our chance to give a shit”–to care–that it’s the pep talk he himself needed to hear. It’s part of what made working on the Guardians movies such a rewarding experience for the cast, myself included. We managed to find ourselves involved in a big-budget superhero movie that was, at its core, deeply personal. That’s a gift. And that’s why it’s good.

This isn’t new information, by the way. It’s all stuff that James has explained many times in interviews, in more detail and more eloquently. It’s not some new spin. It’s always been part of the story. So I guess my hope is that fans continue to watch and appreciate the Guardians movies, not despite the fact that the filmmaker used to be kind of a jackass, but because of it. They are, after all, movies about discovering your best self. Working on those movies made my brother a better person, and they made me one too. I’m proud of that. Peace.

Michael Rooker, Gunn’s longtime collaborator from even before their Guardians days, issued a more cryptic response to the situation on Twitter simply saying “James Gunn knows. That’s all that matters.” However, that tweet has since been deleted with Rooker seemingly withdrawing from the social media platform soon thereafter with the following message.

Guardians actresses Zoe Saldana and Karen Gillan both issued very short statements on Twitter, choosing to rather not say more until a later stage.

Meanwhile, Guardians lead Chris Pratt, who saw his life change irrevocably when Gunn cast the TV comedy actor as Marvel superhero Star-Lord and subsequently propelled him to Hollywood A-list status, quoted a Bible verse – notably from the book of James – as his only response thus far.

Over the course of the weekend though, fans also stepped up with massive choruses of support. An online petition was started, asking Disney to re-hire Gunn so that he can finish the work on the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3 which was supposed to go into production early next year. Chandler Edwards, the petition starter, kicks off the call for support by stating that “I’m smart enough to know this most likely won’t change anything but hopefully, this could get Disney to realize the mistake they made and not do it again in the future.”

I agree on the point that if people say a bunch of stupid shit while working for a studio, the studio has full right to fire him over the possible controversy. This situation is very different though as he made these jokes years before he was working for Disney and also the fact that they were jokes. I agree with most, including Gunn himself that the jokes were shitty and un-funny but they were still jokes, it wasn’t an opinion or a statement, it was just a bad attempt at being funny.

The other thing is if you do this to Gunn you have to do it for all the other directors who have said some crappy joke sometime in their life, which is all of them, cause I doubt there’s one human on this planet who hasn’t made a shitty joke once or twice in there life.

Since its creation on Saturday, the petition has gained over 146k signatures, with other Hollywood celebs like actress Selma Blair sharing it on their social media pages. Blair became one of the advocates of the #MeToo movement after she stepped forward with one of the many claims of sexual assault against director James Toback, and the actress revealed earlier in the year that it was Gunn and fellow Marvel director, Doctor Strange’s Scott Derrickson, who had reached out to her and helped her get through that difficult time.

The Grey and A-Team director Joe Carnahan has also publicly called for people to sign the petition, while also retweeting several tweets directing criticism at Mike Cernovich, the alt-right activist who initially started this affair by unearthing Gunn’s tweets.

Bautista has also been retweeting all the shows of support that has since emerged and also spoke further about his feelings on the matter, addressing questions about whether he would boycott Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3.

One very serious sticking point for many of Gunn’s critics is his friendship with Huston Huddleston, the American writer/director best know for The Greatest Show Ever. Earlier this year, Huddleston was arrested and pled guilty to a charge of possession of child pornography. What’s most disturbing is that years ago Gunn had posted a video on his website which he had received from Huddleston titled “100 Pubescent Girls Touch Themselves”. Since Gunn took his website offline though, the content of the video is uncertain, but The Daily Beast alleges it was just a joke vid that actually showed a chorus of ladies singing 1990s pop song I Touch Myself. Either way, Gunn’s now deleted tweets at the time of the video stated “Huston Huddleston posted this video on my Facebook page with the note ‘I thought you’d appreciate this.’ My response: ‘Appreciate it?!! I just came all over my own face!!’”

Bautista was asked about this contentious angle to the story and responded by indicating that just because they knew one another, does not mean that Gunn was complicit in Huddleston’s crimes.

This is a story that is still developing and will continue to do so for the immediate future as it is certainly a complex issue. Some have pointed out the hypocrisy in Disney’s decision as their older animated movies from years ago are filled with offensive racial stereotyping. Personally, I think that Disney – irrespective of their own background – had very little choice here in their actions. As a corporate with an overwhelmingly family-friendly brand to protect, there was little else they could do except to let Gunn go, irrespective of how intrinsic he is to one of their biggest properties. How they did it though could have been handled better, as it was a dismissive, knee-jerk reaction that belied the complexity of the situation, and indeed seems to go against their own anthems personal growth and betterment.

Of interest though, is that we haven’t heard a single word from Marvel themselves yet, specifically Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige who gave the then indie-level Gunn his big break by trusting him with Marvel’s most risky franchise to date. Feige has always done a great job of walking the fine line between being respectful of his higher-ups while also indicating if he was displeased with them, so it will be very telling to hear what he has to say about this situation in the coming days. We’ll update you if that happens.

Last Updated: July 23, 2018

40 Comments

  1. What a fucking circus the planet has become.

    Reply

    • Lord Chaos

      July 23, 2018 at 11:18

      Indeed

      Reply

  2. HvR

    July 23, 2018 at 11:26

    Hope Iron Sky 2 will feature a band of #cybernazis

    Reply

  3. Original Heretic

    July 23, 2018 at 11:39

    Welcome to 2018, when people are announced guilty before any investigations are even conducted.

    Reply

    • Kervyn Cloete

      July 23, 2018 at 11:52

      Well this is different. Gunn is guilty. He did say those things. The question is whether is his apology and subsequent personality change should be ignored.

      Reply

      • Original Heretic

        July 23, 2018 at 11:56

        Yes, he admitted it. And, yes, he apologised.
        Do I agree with what he did back then? Not in the least. Was it messed up? Yes.
        But it was a total knee-jerk reaction from Disney.
        I’m not thinking or saying this because I want GotG 3 to be awesome, not at all.
        I just think it could have been handled way better.

        Just because you joke about something, no matter how bad those jokes are, doesn’t make it real.

        Reply

      • HvR

        July 23, 2018 at 12:07

        No it should not; should he maybe investigated due to nature of his jokes and his interaction with a convicted pedophile, probably.

        I do find the hypocrisy of the whole thing absolutely ridiculous though.

        Gunn has fell victim to the twitter outrage monster created by the “outraged left” and now all of them are yelling “look at what the alt-right is doing”

        This is something even CH/LG writers have quite often happily participated in as well in the past when the target of the outrage fell within in their spectrum of a valid target.

        Reply

        • Kervyn Cloete

          July 23, 2018 at 12:24

          For the record, I don’t think his apology should be ignored either (which may not have come through as strongly in the article as I wanted). He’s done his penance, so to speak.

          Reply

          • HvR

            July 23, 2018 at 12:28

            Actually found the coverage and your article perfect on reporting on the whole situation. For what my IMHO is worth 🙂

            Last paragraph was referring to articles in the past.

  4. For the Emperor!

    July 23, 2018 at 11:54

    I do not approve of the jokes he made back then, but surely the fact that this was never “covered up”, and was discussed in interviews etc before/during his time at GotG, and that he is an improved person, and that he did NOT break the law with his stupid jokes, this is shitty from a company who has no problem employing people who spew hate at certain demographics…as long as the ones doing the spewing are of another certain demographic…

    Reply

  5. Kromas

    July 23, 2018 at 12:07

    The lesson here my friends is no matter who you are. Twitter is to be used for tech support tweets and or competitions. ANYTHING ELSE can and will be used against you.

    Twitter has been weaponized ages ago and is a terrible platform so stop using it.

    Basically same for most social media platforms.

    Reply

    • HvR

      July 23, 2018 at 12:08

      Keep it private.

      Double check and reread before you post.

      Never ever ever have a direct link between your profile and your employer

      Reply

      • Kromas

        July 23, 2018 at 12:10

        Making Twitter private is like taking the wheels off your car. You may as well just make a watsapp group.

        Reply

        • HvR

          July 23, 2018 at 12:11

          Well yes, think I only ever used it for CH competitions and calling out Gun Free South Africa on their BS. O yes and complaining about CellC and FNB outages

          Was more talking about social media in general.

          Reply

          • Kromas

            July 23, 2018 at 12:14

            Like I said social media has been weaponized. People tend to tweets their thoughts and in most cases you should keep your thoughts to yourself. I myself have a sick and twisted mind but my jokes and dark humour is best left at a braai or private groups.

          • HvR

            July 23, 2018 at 12:17

            I’m even vary of private groups.

            Quite a few times screen shots of private IM conversations have ended up on twitter

          • Kromas

            July 23, 2018 at 14:19

            I am not that wary because I tend to trust people in my private groups. Even if I piss people off I know they are not douchbags. 🙂

          • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

            July 24, 2018 at 11:24

            Your groups are not private. You believe that “encription” BS?

          • Kromas

            July 24, 2018 at 11:26

            Okay less public groups. Like my teamspeak server and the like. You really need to be really bored to hack into my servers for fun because I am not famous nor are my friends. 😛

          • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

            July 24, 2018 at 11:33

            Ever watch House of Cards?

          • Kromas

            July 24, 2018 at 11:34

            Nope. I have little time for shows so I pick the ones I know I will enjoy.

          • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

            July 24, 2018 at 12:20

            You’ll enjoy House of Cards if you have a taste for villainous characters.

            Even I winced a few times at this series.

  6. BakedBagel

    July 23, 2018 at 12:54

    Oh wow, outrage culture effected someone/something you(media) like.

    Thats a shit one. Imagine if this never started in the first place. Imagine if you(media) had called out this Outrage Culture from the beginning.

    I can do nothing but laugh. Gunn called people out and fueled this culture that turned on himself.

    Reply

    • For the Emperor!

      July 23, 2018 at 13:02

      It is all fun and games until the Gunn (outrage culture) is turned on you. I truly hope the world will one day get over this nonsense…but I feel we are more likely going in the direction of that “Majority Rule” episode of The Orville 🙁

      Reply

      • Kromas

        July 23, 2018 at 13:05

        I was also thinking about that episode. Classic Star Trek episode dealing with the BS we are soon going to have.

        Reply

      • Kromas

        July 23, 2018 at 13:05

        I was also thinking about that episode. Classic Star Trek episode dealing with the BS we are soon going to have.

        Reply

      • BakedBagel

        July 23, 2018 at 13:12

        unfortunately due to people now, outright hating someone because they disagree’d with something is the norm. It will never stop. It should never have started in the first place.

        See’ing as tho the Media declared that EVERYTHING is political, people see the world in black and white, like politics.

        I feel stones for people crying about this now, now that its happened to someone they care about, now its an issue, and now this culture needs to be addressed.

        They made the bed, they must sleep in it.

        Reply

        • For the Emperor!

          July 23, 2018 at 13:16

          I “cried about it” from the start, but I have to agree with you on this sentiment regarding “many” of the current public crybabies – “They made the bed, they must sleep in it.”

          *PS: “Gunn called people out and fueled this culture that turned on himself.” – I did not know this (as I tend to not follow people on Twitter), but if true, the “bed” sentiment is even more valid!

          Reply

          • BakedBagel

            July 23, 2018 at 13:22

            I was implying about the celebs tears 😛 rip yours tears tho 🙁

            and the public crybabies are on both sides. Both sides as pathetic as the other

          • For the Emperor!

            July 23, 2018 at 13:27

            True that 🙂

          • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

            July 24, 2018 at 11:28

            Many intelligent people saw the inevitable, worrying impact of giving the masses access to free instant communication. Stupidity is a contagious disease.

            Welcome to the interim result. It’s only going to get worse.

            Great time to be a comedian.

            And remember this: in the future, if I become a public figure, some idiot is gonna come back and dig this comment out of the internet and use it to derail my political career. OMG HE CALLED US STUPID WAAAAHHHHHH

  7. RinceThis

    July 23, 2018 at 14:06

    I find it amazing that RDJ, who has broken the law countless times, and was once found with a boy in his hotel room after 24 hour piss up and cocaine bender is still with Disney. That happened before Iron Man, this happened before Gunn joined Disney. Knee jerk reaction right here.

    Reply

    • Original Heretic

      July 23, 2018 at 14:40

      It really seems like all the big companies are doing their best to distance themselves from anyone who could be involved with pedophilia in any way, shape or form.
      Which to me smacks of misdirection, since there are VARIOUS sources that have been touting FOR YEARS that the Hollywood elite are running pedophile rings and that abuse of the child actors is definitely a thing.
      Dunno how many times I’ve read about someone who has a job that gives them constant access to children abusing their positions. And these are people who, from the outside, seem like they are doing wonderful, altruistic work.

      Reply

    • HvR

      July 23, 2018 at 15:07

      Unless if it is a very well kept secret I could not find anything on RDJ ever being arrested with an underage boy.

      He did crapload of shitty things when he went full on Charlie Sheen, but was arrested and served real jail and forced rehab time all in the public eye and then walked the long and hard road of rehabilitation and working himself back up to superstar status and why I think he is given a pass on his past behaviour.

      Reply

  8. Craig "CrAiGiSh" Dodd

    July 23, 2018 at 15:51

    There is no GOTG3 without Gunn …

    Reply

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