Disney removed James Gunn as director of the film Guardians of the Galaxy 3 and effectively banned him from the Marvel universe after the discovery of old posts he published on Twitter discussing topics such as pedophilia.
Gunn’s tweets, long ago deleted, remained available on a website that archives old webpages. According to a Fox News report, the tweets, which Gunn published between 2008 and 2011, were unearthed by people including alt-right writer Mike Cernovich, who has been critical of the director’s political views. (Gunn has been outspoken in his opposition to President Trump.)
Images of the archived tweets appear to show Gunn making dark jokes about pedophilia, child molestation, and other taboo topics that Walt Disney Studios found objectionable.
“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,” Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said in a statement.
After Disney’s announcement, Gunn took to Twitter to explain that he once viewed himself as a provocateur who made “outrageous and taboo” jokes. Gunn said that he had moved beyond such jokes and had already apologized for them.
Gunn directed the hit 2014 film Guardians of the Galaxy as well as its 2017 sequel. Both films were box office successes, with the first grossing $333 million worldwide and the second bringing in $390 million. Gunn has been credited for bringing a lighter tone to the films that resonated with audiences to other films in the Marvel universe.
Gunn had been scheduled to appear on a Sony Pictures panel at San Diego Comic-Con Friday evening. That afternoon, he said that he would not attend the session.