Director James Gunn has officially been fired from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.
According to Variety, Disney has severed ties with the director after a series of offensive tweets were unearthed from Gunn’s Twitter account. The tweets, dated from 2009 to 2011, joked about several sensitive topics such as pedophilia and rape.
Walt Disney Chairman Alan Horn commented on the tweets and the decision to fire Gunn by stating “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.” Gunn has since deleted his personal website and Twitter account.
The series of now deleted tweets were unearthed Thursday evening and shared across Twitter, notably by alt-right conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, who commented “It’s still 3 am in California, Disney is for an interesting day, as is San Diego Comic Con, where James Gunn is scheduled to speak this afternoon.”
One of the now-deleted tweets said, “I like when little boys touch me in my silly place.”
Another message read, “The best thing about being raped is when you’re done being raped and it’s like ‘whew this feels great, not being raped!'”
The writer/director has since apologized for his tweets, stating “Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.”
Gunn was slated to speak at the San Diego Comic-Con today where he told fans he would be revealing a “dark, sweet, and special” surprise for fans. There is no news as to whether he will continue to speak at the convention.
“I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies,” Gunn wrote. “For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out.”
James Gunn is known for directing films such as Slither, Super, and the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. The director has also written films such as the live action on-screen 2001 adaptation of Scooby-Doo and its sequel, the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, and most recently The Belko Experiment.
Gunn shared on social media a few months back that he was currently penning the script to Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 and is planning to wrap up the franchise with the third installment. There is no news yet as to who will take over directing duties for the franchise.