Months after being fired over old tweets, James Gunn has been rehired as director of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.”
Representatives for the Walt Disney Co. and for Gunn on Friday confirmed that Gunn has been reinstated as writer-director of the franchise he has guided from the start.
“I am tremendously grateful to every person out there who has supported me over the past few months,” Gunn wrote on Twitter Friday. “I am always learning and will continue to work at being the best human being I can be.”
What did James Gunn do?
Gunn wasafter tweets from 2008 and 2011 resurfaced on the conservative website Daily Caller, and included offensive jokes like, “I like when little boys touch me in my silly place” and “The best thing about being raped is when you’re done being raped and it’s like ‘whew this feels great, not being raped!'”
Gunn’s old tweets also joked about the Holocaust, the 9/11 attacks and AIDS. Gunn apologized for the tweets, which he called “unfortunate efforts to be provocative.”
Disney Chairman Alan Horn at the time said Gunn’s words were inconsistent with the studio’s values.
“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,” Hornto CBS News.
But Gunn’s dismissal wasby many, including the “Guardians” cast. Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel and other stars of the franchise supported Gunn in an open letter.
“Each of us looks forward to working with our friend James again in the future,” wrote the cast members, who said they were all shocked by the firing.
Pratt added in an Instagram post that he would, “Personally love to see him reinstated as director of Volume 3.”
“Although I don’t support James Gunn’s inappropriate jokes from years ago, he is a good man,” Pratt added.
The letter also discussed the climate that led to Gunn’s abrupt firing and the lack of “due process in the court of public opinion.”
“James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial,” the cast members continued. “Given the growing political divide in this country, it’s safe to say instances like this will continue, although we hope Americans from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassination and stop weaponizing mob mentality.”
Gunn has been writer and director of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise from the start, taking an obscure Marvel Comics title about a group of multicolored misfits and turning it into a space opera decked with comedy and retro music that made Pratt a major movie star.
Through, the franchise has brought in more than $1.5 billion in global box office, and much has been staked on the third film that would launch another decade, or more, of Marvel films.