Star Wars director Rian Johnson recently took to Twitter and explained why he deleted over 20,000 tweets following Disney's firing of James Gunn. Earlier this week, Johnson caused a stir when he seemingly purged most of his Twitter history. Johnson’s erasure of 20,000 tweets occurred shortly after Disney fired Gunn and seemed to be a direct response to the controversy.
The Gunn/Disney controversy has dominated the news cycle over the past week and has sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry. The Guardians of the Galaxy director was summarily fired by Disney last week when a slew of Gunn’s inappropriate and offensive tweets from several years back went viral. In Disney’s official release regarding Gunn’s dismissal, they stated that the director’s tweets were “indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values.” After Disney fired Gunn, several of his friends and coworkers have come to his defense claiming that Disney was wrong for firing him. Nevertheless, Disney has stood by their decision and seem to have no plans to hire Gunn back.
In the wake of the Gunn/Disney controversy, some viewed Johnson’s decision to delete his past tweets as suspicious. It seemed as if Johnson was either covering his tracks or just taking precautions. Some even implied that Disney might have ordered Johnson to delete a large portion of his Twitter history. This accusation is unfounded, even if it was extremely pervasive. Thankfully, Johnson recently took to Twitter to explain exactly why he deleted his tweets:
Given everything that happened to Gunn, Johnson’s explanation and actions make perfect sense. His tweet also seems completely earnest and relatable. Anything he’s said in the past - even if it wasn’t overtly offensive - could potentially put his career at risk. Gunn’s take down was orchestrated by politically conservative trolls who dug through thousands of his pasts tweets to find anything incriminating. As Johnson said, if that is the “new normal,” then why wouldn’t he protect himself and his career? It may seem like an extreme measure to delete 20,000 tweets, however, Disney’s knee-jerk reaction to Gunn’s tweets was alarming.
It’s also worth noting that Johnson has first hand knowledge of how quickly public opinion can shift. Star Wars fans were extremely critical of him after The Last Jedi premiered and he was openly trolled on social media. That being said, many Star Wars fans still hold a grudge against him and claimed he “ruined” Star Wars. So, it’s easy to understand why he’s being cautious. For now, the Disney/Gunn controversy continues, and based on Johnson’s actions and comments, it seems that public figures who work for Disney may be on high alert.
Source: Rian Johnson/Twitter
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019