Suicide Squad and Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn opened up about being fired by Disney following numerous tweets, blog posts, and more referencing and discussing pedophilia and child rape.
Gunn described the tweets and blog posts as “shocking jokes.” At the time of the firing, Disney’s Alan Horn stated, “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.”
Gunn described the first day he got fired as “the most intense of my entire life.” He elaborated:
“There have been other difficult days in my life, from the time I got sober when I was younger, to the death of friends who committed suicide. But this was incredibly intense. It happened, and suddenly it seemed like everything was gone. I just knew, in a moment that happened incredibly quickly, I had been fired. It felt as if my career was over.”
He specifically details that Disney firing him felt like they had taken away his “hope for feeling love.” He noted he felt, “I had absolutely nothing. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.” He then questioned, “Should I be locked away?”
Gunn revealed that he went to Hollywood to “be rich and famous, to have people love them.” He detailed that for him being loved was gained through his work and being famous. When Disney fired him, he felt that had been taken away.
However, he would go on to detail that he received a ton of support from his girlfriend, his producer, his agents, and the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy. He even revealed that Sylvester Stallone Face Timed him. He specifically noted that Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Karen Gillan all called him.
“That amount of love that I felt from my friends, my family, and the people in the community was absolutely overwhelming. In order for me to have fully felt that love for the first time, the thing that needed to happen was the apparatus by which I was feeling falsely loved had to be completely taken away.”
The entire Guardians of the Galaxy cast signed an open letter supporting James Gunn. Dave Bautista was the most outspoken, where he likened Disney to fascists. Bautista would even threaten to quit Guardians of the Galaxy and questioned whether he wanted to continue to work with Disney.
Not only would the cast support Gunn, but a number of fans also supported the director through a petition on Change.org calling for Gunn to be rehired. The petition was signed by over 430,000 people.
“So a part of that day was the worst of my life, and a part of it was the greatest day of my life. I certainly haven’t been perfect in my spiritual journeys since that time, but I have been better.“
He even indicated that getting off social media following Disney firing him was “hard as hell,” but he indicated “it was also rewarding, in being able to see life from a different perspective.”
Gunn would go on to explain that after getting fired he was angry at himself.
“The truth is I had a lot of anger at myself and I really had to try to put that aside. Because in the same way where I know what I’ve done wrong, I know that I’ve done a lot of wrong things in my life, things that led to this moment. I had to realize what I needed to do differently in my life. That was a part of all of this.”
But despite being angry, he indicated he realized he should not be lashing out.
“But in the same way I needed to not be lashing out at whoever fired me, or whoever spread links online, or cut up pictures to look like this or that, I also had to let go of some of that rage towards myself as well. Otherwise I just wasn’t going to be able to make it through.”
He also revealed that not only was he feeling angry about himself, but that he felt bad about the way he had previously spoken publicly. He specifically points to jokes that he made as well as the targets of his humor. He also stated that he takes full responsibility for his actions.
“I feel and have felt bad for a while about some of the ways I spoke publicly; some of the jokes I made, some of the targets of my humor, just the unintentional consequences of not being more compassionate in what I’m putting out there. I know that people have been hurt by things that I’ve said, and that’s still my responsibility, that I wasn’t as compassionate as I should be in what I say. I feel bad for that and take full responsibility.”
Gunn would also state that he believes Disney had the right to fire him for his actions.
“Disney totally had the right to fire me. This wasn’t a free speech issue. I said something they didn’t like and they completely had the right to fire me. There was never any argument of that.”
Disney’s decision to rehire Gunn was not without its detractors. Pundit Mike Cernovich called on Media Matters to boycott Disney following Gunn being rehired. Actor James Woods, who voiced Hades in Disney’s Hercules, questioned why Roseanne was not rehired by the company following the announcement Gunn would return for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
What do you make of Gunn’s comments regarding his firing by Disney? Do you plan on watching Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?