Disney/Marvel: hire James Gunn back for Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3!

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[EDIT: Please sign this petition as well: https://www.change.org/p/marvel-re-hire-james-gunn]

As an independent filmmaker, James Gunn has been one of my heroes. I might never have produced my first indie feature if I hadn't read the book he co-wrote with Lloyd Kaufman, "All I Need to Know about Filmmaking I Learned from The Toxic Avenger". He started out with humble roots, elevating the legendary low budget TROMA Studios by helping them get into the Cannes Film Festival for the very first time and eventually working his way up to helming two massively successful sci-fi comedies for Disney/Marvel (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 1 and Vol. 2). It has been immensely gratifying to follow his ascent in the film world and I have eagerly anticipated seeing what Mr. Gunn will do with the script and direction for Volume 3 of the Guardians franchise.

Disney's shocking decision to terminate Mr. Gunn's contract hit me like a punch in the gut. As I've read about it, I've found that it was purely political in motivation. Mr. Gunn has made no attempt to hide his past at Troma or his trademark dark sense of humor. He has also been very vocal in speaking truth to power, using his Twitter platform to criticize human rights violations and abuses by our very own government officials.

A small group of trolls has taken to viewing Mr. Gunn as an enemy based on his political views and, as such, have attempted to weaponize a handful of his old tweets by presenting a series of tasteless jokes as if Mr. Gunn was advocating atrocious behavior like pedophilia. It is clear from the context of the tweets and Mr. Gunn's entire public history that he has a penchant for dark humor and is in no way championing the abuse of children. Disney, however, has chosen to buckle to pressure from these trolls--despite it being glaringly obvious that Mr. Gunn is being fired for his political views, not the tasteless jokes he made years before Disney had even hired him.

There is a vast difference between what we call "ha ha, only kidding" jokes and "ha ha, only serious" jokes. The former express things you know to be false spoken as if they are true; the latter is what you actually believe but pretend not to for the sake of humor. The latter are often used as a litmus test for people who hold racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise publicly unacceptable views as a means of finding likeminded individuals. You see it all the time when somebody makes a racist statement, then attempts to walk it back under the guise of irony or humor. The latter, not the former, is what tends to get people fired.

Unless you believe James Gunn was actually advocating for pedophilia, his jokes are obviously of the "ha ha, only kidding" variety. He himself has clarified that he was not advocating pedophilia: "For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out. I know this is a weird statement to make, and seems obvious, but, still, here I am, saying it."

James Gunn should not have been fired. It was a poor decision that needs to be rectified immediately. Please reconsider your options, admit your mistake, and hire James Gunn back for Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3.

[EDIT: Please sign this petition as well: https://www.change.org/p/marvel-re-hire-james-gunn]



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