Social media is a wacky place nowadays. Insomuch that Rian Johnson deleted 20,000 tweets from his account a couple of days ago. His efforts were somewhat under the radar, and no one really took note of it until after he had done it.
— The Mary Sue (@TheMarySue) July 25, 2018
Johnson famously directed Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which garnered critical praise and quite a bit of audience ire for his directorial approach.
With what happened to James Gunn recently and some other personalities, there has been speculation about what kind of content might be buried in Johnson’s past tweets.
However, the director took to twitter to explain the deletion:
No official directive at all, and I don’t think I’ve ever tweeted anything that bad. But it’s nine years of stuff written largely off the cuff as ephemera, if trolls scrutinizing it for ammunition is the new normal, this seems like a “why not?” move.
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) July 25, 2018
Johnson has already endured several death threats from Star Wars fans, and is quite familiar with the vicious mannerisms of an online mob. His approach to the Twitterverse and extremist communities seems to be a sensible one, given the actions of a small contingency online in the past few days.
The Shot Heard Around Hollywood
This comes on the heels of Disney firing James Gunn for Tweets that Gunn called “offensive jokes”, and involved pedophilia and crude sexual references. At least one of the Tweets connected Gunn to Huston Huddleston, who plead guilty to possessing child pornography and will have to register as a sex offender. The popular Hollywood gossip site Crazy Days and Nights also claimed a Hollywood director who had recently been fired was “in possession of child porn.” In fact, they claim this director was under active investigation by the FBI as recently as two months ago.
Gunn was employed at Troma Entertainment during the time period when many of his Tweets were made. The film production and distribution company is known for its shocking films which feature overt sexuality and nudity along with graphic violence. Gunn sat down with Vice last year to discuss his first film Tromeo and Juliet where he talked about how much he had changed over the past 20 years.
“I was such an angry human being, and anger covers up a lot of other emotions that are there. That was stuff that was a great phase to go through, and I’m not ashamed of it in any way—which is why I’m doing this interview now.
At the same time, I don’t come from the same place today.”
At the time of this writing, there is an online campaign under the hashtag #RehireJamesGunn trending on Twitter. There has also been a Change.org petition for Disney to rehire Gunn, which has received over 330,000 signatures. The cast of Guardians of the Galaxy and other Disney alum have spoken up in differing levels of support with some completely backing the director while others advocating a wait and see approach. The more outspoken in their defense of James Gunn are Jim Starlin and Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, his brother Sean Gunn, and Bobcat Goldthwait. The more measured replies came from Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and more recently Glenn Close.
Do you believe Rian Johnson is making the right moves for his social media account? Is this how we need to approach any public speech now, given the current environment of the online world? Sound off in the comments or let’s talk on social media, we would love to hear what you think!