Although habitual sexual assaulters who actually harm people’s careers as often considered to return, or not even dismissed at all, James Gunn’s transgression of making horrible jokes and then criticising his president has proven to be too much for Disney to forgive.
Variety reports that the GUARDIANS director who was fired from Disney after 10 year old tweets of his with offensive jokes were discovered by right wing activists – met with Disney chairman Alan Horn, but it was only to clear the air, and Gunn remains fired. Kevin Feige supported his return but left town, knowing there was nothing he could do. Many had thought Gunn’s misdeeds were relatively minor and that he would be reinstated after a suitable length of time. But nope.
There’s been an outpouring of support for Gunn from the Guardians cast and even fans, but Gunn remaining on would seem to be enough to cause a ruckus with right wing elements. As Disney president Bob Iger weighs a political career, perhaps that was also a factor in the decision. Also, the Disney-Fox deal could still be sidetracked by the Justice department, and I’m sure they didn’t want to rock the boat on that.
Also of note: Disney chairman Ike Perlmutter was recently revealed to be running the Veteran Administration along with a few of his friends from a Florida resort, despite not being an officially appointed government official. Perlmutter is an old friend of Donald Trump, and the two are said to frequently speak. So don’t tell me politics aren’t at the root of all this.
It’s a very sad situation. I didn’t like Guardians 2 but there’s no question that Gunn is the auteur of the trilogy, and people have been welcomed back to work arms after doing far worse things that did far more harm to real people. Gunn had recently completed the GOTG Vol 3 script and hopefully some of it will make sense when a new director is hired.
Also don’t cry too much for Gunn – word is he’s highly sought after at other studios, and WB would be wise to snap him up for something, maybe that Tom Cruise Green Lantern movie. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
It’s also likely that Gunn will get a good payout on his contract, since the offensive actions took place before he was fired by Disney.
This is the first ripple in the MCU since Edgar Wright left Ant Man, and may presage a crack in the hitherto unassailable march of the greatest film franchise ever.
Or maybe Alan Horn is right, and the Marvel movie franchise is an unstoppable pop culture juggernaut that is bigger than any one creator. Still, I wouldn’t want to see Kevin Feige walk away.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.