Fans of the Marvel franchise, Guardians of the Galaxy, have started a petition to bring back director James Gunn. He was relieved of his responsibilities from the film series by Disney earlier this week. This was due to the controversy over old, offensive tweets of Gunn, in which he made inappropriate jokes about molestation, AIDS and other topics.
Director Joe Carnahan shared the petition on his social media page. At the time of publishing, the petition had garnered over 150,000 signatures.
— Joe Carnahan (@carnojoe) July 21, 2018
Some of the tweets in question are more than a decade-old. The tweets were unearthed in response to Gunn’s scathing criticism of Donald Trump through his social media account. Far-right activist, Mike Cernovich, encouraged his followers to bombard Disney and Marvel’s social media accounts with screenshots of offensive jokes that Gunn had made in the past.
Gunn had also joked about directing a movie version of the beloved children’s book The Giving Tree in which the tree performs a sexual act on its human companion.
Following this, Gunn was fired from his role as the director of the Guardians series.
“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,” Walt Disney Company Chairman Alan Horn said in a statement on Friday.
Following this, Gunn apologised for his behaviour with a series of tweets. “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.”
5. 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.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 20, 2018
Dave Bautista, who plays Drax the Destroyer in the series, said that he was ‘not ok’ with the decision to fire Gunn.
I will have more to say but for right now all I will say is this..@JamesGunn is one of the most loving,caring,good natured people I have ever met. He’s gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He’s made mistakes. We all have. Im NOT ok with what’s happening to him
— Dave Bautista (@DaveBautista) July 21, 2018
The film’s lead, Chris Pratt, who plays Star Lord in the franchise, chose to evade questions about Gunn in a recent promotional event. There has been no responses from Zoe Saldana on the issue as well.