An online petition calling on Disney to re-hire ousted Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn has received over 65,000 signatures. Gunn was dropped by Disney on Friday, after years-old offensive tweets by the writer-director resurfaced online amid his feud with conservative social media personality Mike Cernovich. Gunn quickly released his own statement apologizing for the tweets and taking responsibility for his words, which he insisted were meant to be humorous and provocative.
In the wake of Disney's swift move to fire Gunn, many of the director's colleagues have come to his defense. Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista was one of the earliest and most vocal defenders of Gunn, saying he is "not OK" with the action taken by Disney. Gunn's brother Sean Gunn, who appears in the Guardians movies as the on-set stand-in for Rocket Raccoon, also came out in vehement defense of the ousted director.
Guardians of the Galaxy fans, and MCU fans in general, are now having their say on Disney's firing of James Gunn, and a lot of them aren't happy. A Change.org petition calling on Disney to reverse course and re-hire Gunn went up two days ago, and by Sunday afternoon had already received over 65,000 signatures on the way to a goal of 75,000 total. The petition statement reads in part:
I agree on the point that if people say a bunch of stupid s--t while working for a studio, the studio has full right to fire him over the possible controversy. This situation is very different though as he made these jokes years before he was working for Disney and also the fact that they were jokes. I agree with most, including Gunn himself that the jokes were s---ty and un-funny but they were still jokes, it wasn't an opinion or a statement, it was just a bad attempt at being funny.
The other thing is if you do this to Gunn you have to do it for all the other directors who have said some crappy joke sometime in their life, which is all of them, cause I doubt there's one human on this planet who hasn't made a s---ty joke once or twice in there [sic] life.
While calling on Disney to go back on their decision and re-hire gun, the petition originator Chandler Edwards freely admits it's highly unlikely the studio will comply, no matter how many signatures they get. Edwards says he hopes the petition will at least send a signal to Disney that their fans believe they made a mistake in firing Gunn over his old tweets. Before his days directing Guardians of the Galaxy movies for Marvel Studios and Disney, James Gunn made his name working on quirky and some might argue tasteless films like Tromeo and Juliet, Slither and Super. Many saluted Disney for hiring Gunn to handle the big-budget Guardians films, praising the generally conservative studio for their willingness to take a risk on a quirky filmmaker with a very particular sense of humor. Indeed, Gunn's unusual sensibilities are generally listed as assets anytime critics discuss the two Guardians films, which have collectively grossed $1.6 billion worldwide.
However, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will have to go on without James Gunn, after the very same sense of humor that helped the director make millions for Disney manifested itself in a much less acceptable way. Of course, many would argue there's nothing humorous about Gunn's tweets at all, with their references to pedophilia, rape and other extreme subject matter. On the other hand though, the 65,000 people mentioned above clearly don't see those dated tweets as an offense worthy of firing the creative mastermind behind the hit Guardians franchise.
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