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Firing James Gunn Is Just the Opening Salvo in the War Between Disney and Consumers

If you’ve been following the entertainment news this weekend, you’ve probably heard that James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Part 3 on Friday. If you missed it, the recap version is that a disingenuous right-wing conspiracy theorist and snake-oil salesman dug up some off-color jokes Gunn made on Twitter ten years ago and formed a fake outrage mob because Gunn was critical of Donald Trump and Disney instantly caved because Disney lacks any kind of loyalty to their creators.

If this was just about James Gunn, it would be a massive but isolated mistake on the part of Disney, but it’s really not. With all the obstacles removed from the Fox buyout, Disney is about to control roughly 40% of the entire movie market along with a massive swath of the television and streaming market. Are you really happy with a company that would drop the writer/director who created the formula for their billion dollar superhero franchise over some minor social media drama in charge all your entertainment choices? Sure, Wolverine can be in Avengers 5 now but is the complete obliteration of non-conformist creators worth it?

Now, some people may say that Gunn’s tweets were over the line because he joked about pedophilia and rape, and that jokes about rape and pedophilia are never funny. But of course jokes about rape and pedophilia can be funny, I’ve heard hundreds of hilarious jokes on those subjects from a wide range of comics and humorists. The best one I’ve ever heard is by Amy Schumer from a 30-second bit from her album Cutting that made me laugh more than the entire hour of The Leather Special.

I mean, if that’s the sort of joke you can make on Conan and be a media darling, why are we firing James Gunn again? Family Guy had a good one, too.

I mean, sure, James Gunn isn’t as funny as Amy Schumer or Family Guy, but what he said was clearly a joke. A lot of his tweets were jokingly accusing Troma co-worker Lloyd Kauffman of being a pedophile, and the rest were dumb jokes, like saying The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of What It Feels Like When Uncle Bernie Fists Me would be a sad children’s book. That needs work; I would have gone with The Hardy Boys and the Secret of Uncle Bernie’s Windowless Basement because in this case being less explicit and letting people fill in the blanks themselves is funnier.

One of the biggest problems here is that no one was offended by Gunn’s tweets; the people acting offended are the ones crying a river of tears for Roseanne Barr being fired because she said something racist and saying “PC culture has gone too far!” every ten minutes. This controversy is just Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables: “He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.”

Not one of these people actually believes James Gunn deserves to be fired for his tweet, this is just their “revenge” for Roseanne being fired. Now, I’m not 100% on board for people being fired for having bad opinions and saying reprehensible things outside of work, but anyone with even the most basic critical thinking skills can see how these two situations are different. If that’s not you, I’ll explain it. See, calling a black person an ape is racist whereas making a joke about the Hardy Boys being molested may be in bad taste but it doesn’t make you a pedophile.

This severe lapse in judgement and opening act of a cyberpunk novel does have a bright side. The entire Guardians of the Galaxy cast defended Gunn on Twitter.

Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel didn’t make statements on Twitter, but they don’t use Twitter so that probably factored in. It’s good that the actors aren’t afraid to stand up to Disney and stand by Gunn, though. For the moment there are still two or three other studios they can work at if Disney wants to fire them over it. Like Warner Brothers. I would be shocked if Warner Brothers hadn’t already called Gunn and told him he could make any DC movie he wants, they’d be stupid not to.

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Kristi OHaver

Stop trying to normalize pedophilia. The normalization of this is being pushed everywhere, even here.

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