YOUR VOICES: On James Gunn and His Return to Disney

YOUR VOICES

Your Voices is a simple concept created to encourage conversation and opinions between movie lovers. It works like this: I throw out a certain topic or question and I’ll take time to make my case or share my opinions. Then it’s time for Your Voices. Head to the comments section and let fellow readers and moviegoers know your thoughts on the topic for that day.

After James Gunn was fired by Disney over offensive tweets made some ten-plus years earlier there was no shortage of opinions to be found. His removal from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” sparked the ire of some fans while cast members issued a joint statement supporting the embattled director. But others were understandably repulsed by what he called “jokes”.

Since then Gunn has met several times with the chairman of Walt Disney Studios Alan Horn. As a result Disney has re-hired Gunn who will head “Guardians 3” after his “Suicide Squad” reboot for Warner Bros. The question is should we be happy with Disney’s decision or is there reason for people to be upset? As with before, there is no shortage of opinions.

European Premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - London

I’m genuinely caught in the middle. In one sense the entertainment industry have set the standards on firing people due to off-color or offensive things done in the past. Now it has come back to bite them in the butt and their sudden rehiring of Gunn comes across as hypocritical. And I happen to be in the camp who thinks his “jokes” were pretty disgusting and reprehensible. I ‘ve yet to understand the mindset where any of that can be conceived as remotely humorous.

On the other side Gunn has handled the whole situation extremely well. He has shown a respect for the “business decision” side as well as shown genuine remorse for the tweets. He hasn’t tried to downplay or brush aside the offensive nature of his words. Humility and accountability are truly refreshing things to see. Aren’t those the types of responses that should earn second chances?

That’s what I think but what about you? Time to let Your Voices be heard in the comments section below.

YOUR VOICES: Are you okay with Disney rehiring James Gunn?

20 thoughts on “YOUR VOICES: On James Gunn and His Return to Disney

  1. I was totally repulsed by his early tweets from years ago . They were in very poor taste . But once I begin to read the whole story behind the tweets , how he removed them , apologized for them years ago and seemed to truly have regret and remorse over his words , was apt to to give him another chance .
    As horrid as his remarks may have been , they are words . No criminal act was committed . Sure many of his other comments have been smug and many were directed at your current sitting President , but I have read far worse on social media .Disney over reacted in my opinion . We should be wise about the words we post and be aware that they can be used against us but free speech allows for even vile things to be posted at times and as much as I might disagree with many things said , they are words .
    Plus the way he conducted himself after the whole affair blew up , revealed to me a man that deserved a second chance . Heck I even signed the petition to reinstate him . So I’m happy he is back to complete Guardians 3 .

    • Good words. While I did find him to be a pretty smug guy I do like the way he has handled this since his firing. As I wrote, humility and responsibility is a hard thing to find in the current culture and I saw someone who I believed learned a lot through the ordeal. And while his Guardians movies are far from my favorites among the MCU, I think I’m okay with him getting a second chance.

      • The key for me was how he handled himself. He didn’t try to deflect it, he owned it. Something you don’t see often anywhere today. As for me, the Guardians movies are near my top in the MCU. They really connect with me. So having him able to finish his journey with them is something that has me excited.

  2. I get your point about hypocrisy but that can also be extended to the continuous employment of Robert Downey Jr and Johnny Depp.
    I think we have all said or done things in the past that we are probably not completely proud of but as long as we learn from them, we should not forever be criticised for them. Think of the recent situation with Liam Neeson.
    Personally, I was ready to boycott GotG 3 if they didn’t reinstate Gunn, so you can guess my stance on it 🙂

    • It’s funny, I was kind of excited to see another director’s take on Guardians. I liked his two movies but didn’t love them. Still, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve a second chance. The interesting thing is how the entertainment industry has been so inconsistent on this subject.

  3. Honestly, I feel like this whole thing got overblown all because of a bunch of alt-right morons who called out Gunn for jokes that happened more than a decade ago or something. It was just bad jokes that got overblown. Disney freaked out when people forget that Disney’s done things that were much worse. Gunn never should’ve been fired to begin with. Plus, how he’s handled the whole thing with maturity and humility shows that he can at least take actions for his own responsibilities though it was really just a bunch of dumb jokes gone wrong.

    This is just political correctness going horribly wrong from the both alt-right morons and whiny leftist douche bags. This is one of the reasons why I left the NIN Echoing the Sounds forum because everyone is a fucking hypocrite about this and that. It’s that kind of shit is the reason why humanity has gotten really stupid and having recently watched Weekend by Jean-Luc Godard. It’s no surprise that we might get into a period of savagery if we don’t wake up.

    • Good thoughts. I would have a much different take on this if Gunn hadn’t handled it the way he did. The guy owned it, apologized, didn’t shift the blame or try to toss aside the offense. As someone who found his “jokes” revolting, I commend him for showing an example of how you handle these things.

  4. Society (mainly because of online) has become so oversensitive and extreme in reactions to specific events that expressing yourself can be very risky. When in the past someone was offended by something they would write an angry letter to a newspaper and it wouldn’t go much further. If a story is now picked up it will spread like wildfire with people very quick to judge, often not looking further than the couple of seconds they spent on reading something.

    We all make mistakes or do stupid things we regret later, but as long as we learn from them and grow as a person they are part of being human. With this situation there was the corporate line of distancing themselves because it might have impact on the brand (and thus the money), instead of listening to his story and deciding that it was in his past. It’s good to see he’s been rehired and I’m interested to see GotG 3.

    • Strong points. I think you hit on something that is spot-on. The internet and the chance it offers people to share their opinions with little thought and lesser regard for context. Obviously I love the internet. It affords me the opportunity to write about movies and share those thoughts. But there is unquestionably a recklessness out there that can be pretty damaging.

  5. If Disney had fired James in order to take a stance against the topics he joked about, maybe I would’ve been OK with it. However, they always do research about the people they hire. They must’ve known that he started his career with shock humor (have you read his original ideas for the first SCOOBY DOO movie?) and his social media used to reflect that a lot. They only fired him because the jokes were brought to public attention and gave them a bad image. I find that hypocritical and frankly more insulting to rape victims than James’ jokes. In fact, James wasn’t caught doing anything; he tweeted those jokes. They were public. Why didn’t people react the same way back then? It’s not like people didn’t care about politically incorrect jokes 10 years ago. Firing him was less about unsolved justice and more about mob mentality and taking advantage of recent precedents, even though what Roseanne Barr did was so much worse. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be any punishment at all, but it has to fit the “crime.”

    • I think you’re hitting on something key. You’re absolutely right. Disney wasn’t making a statement against child rape, etc. This was all about public perception and how it could potentially effect the bottom dollar. I’ve always found shock humor to be weak and unoriginal and I found Gunn’s comments to be pretty disgusting. But Disney wasn’t upset about what he tweeted. They were distancing themselves for the sake of their product.

      • I don’t even completely understand that. Did Disney fear that parents wouldn’t buy tickets to prevent their little kids from watching a movie made by a person who makes jokes like that? We’re not talking about an actor whose face will be all over the movie. Kids don’t pay attention to people behind the camera. Also, these movies are rated PG-13 in the U.S.

      • I don’t think they thought that deeply into it. I just think it is the perception of the whole thing. Once it spread across social media and became a topic their instant impulse was to cut ties to protect themselves (or their product).

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