By Dan Calabrese
I have no interest in defending James Gunn – not his politics, not his personality, not his ability as a director. From what little I know, he sounds like a jerk, and probably the type of person who thinks he’s better than you because of honest disagreements over things that don’t make anyone better than anyone else..
But Disney should give him his job back, and the Daily Caller shouldn’t have gone looking for his old, offensive tweets as a way of calling him out and taking him down. I don’t care if the Caller is on “our side” and Gunn isn’t. This crap needs to stop.
All this probably stemmed from Gunn’s kinda sorta defense of Mark Duplass for kinda sorta saying Ben Shapiro isn’t such a bad guy. This all happened on Twitter (of course) and it culminated in Gunn and Shapiro calling each other a-holes. Maybe that’s why the Caller thought it should dig into Gunn’s past tweets. What it found was some truly horrible stuff, and once it was brought to light – even though it was mostly a decade old – Disney quickly fired Gunn for his role as director of the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3.
And just like that, the Twitter mob has claimed another head:
On Thursday, Gunn tweeted in response to the tweets being resurfaced, “Many people who have followed my career know, when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.”
He added: “It’s not to say I’m better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.”
The offensive tweets came to light after conservative website The Daily Caller dug up the social media posts, which were mostly posted in 2008 and 2009. Soon after, conservative personalities were tweeting to followers to confront Gunn at Comic-Con. Gunn had been expected to be at Sony’s presentation on Friday. Insiders say Gunn is not expected to be part of the panel now.
Gunn issued a statement on Friday afternoon, saying that he “regretted” the tweets in question and stressed that “they don’t reflect the person I am today.”
“My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative,” his statement read. “I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don’t reflect the person I am today or have been for some time.”
Much of the left is demanding that Gunn be rehired because conservative writer Mike Cernovich, who is hated by the left, was involved with the attack on him. Cernovich loves to dredge up old tweets by leftists to show that they say one thing and do another.
But I don’t want Gunn rehired because of that. I want Gunn rehired because I’m sick of the BS that sees people’s lives being ruined because of something ill-advised that they said or did years before that can never be erased because the Internet is forever. Yes, it’s Gunn’s fault he chose to tweet those things. But we now find ourselves a culture in a perpetual search-and-destroy exercise in which the goal is always to find the latest enemy to shame. It happened last week to Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader based on some things he’d tweeted when he was 17.
When he was 17.
Maybe 17-year-olds shouldn’t be allowed to have Twitter accounts because they will inevitably say something stupid, but nothing positive is achieved by dredging up old stuff like that and shaming a guy for it at this stage of his life. And the same is true for James Gunn, or anyone else. Disney is a private company and they can do what they want, but the only reason they fired James Gunn is that they’re scared of the blowback if they don’t. It’s not because of his talent as a director or because of the way he’s conducted himself professionally since he’s had the gig. And that being the case, he deserves to get his job back.
So does everyone who’s been destroyed by past tweets, or past posts, or past writings, or past interviews, or past indiscretions, or dumb jokes, or fits of pique. Enough of this. People shouldn’t be judged on their worst moments, or on the worst times of their lives. Let James Gunn direct. Let Josh Hader pitch. Let people learn from their mistakes rather than destroying them for them.
Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!