Political Correctness

Guardians of the Galaxy Stars Want James Gunn Back, Despite His Politically Incorrect Tweets

The stars have signed an open letter explaining why Gunn didn't deserve to lose his job.

|

MARVEL STUDIOS/WALT DISNEY PICTURES / Album/Newscom

The stars of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies have signed an open letter expressing their support for director James Gunn. Gunn, who directed the first two films in the Guardians series, was fired by Disney earlier this month after right-wing trolls dug up some ill-advised jokes he tweeted years ago.

The letter is signed by cast members Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Sean Gunn, Pom Klementieff, and Michael Rooker:

An Open Letter from the "Cast of Guardians of the Galaxy"

To our fans and friends:

We fully support James Gunn. We were all shocked by his abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen, and discuss. In that time, we've been encouraged by the outpouring of support from fans and members of the media who wish to see James reinstated as director of Volume 3 as well as discouraged by those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding him.

Being in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" movies has been a great honor in each of our lives. We cannot let this moment pass without expressing our love, support, and gratitude for James. We are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago but rather to share our experience having spent many years together on set making Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2. The character he has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set, and his apology, now and from years ago when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from the heart, a heart we all know, trust, and love. In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever. We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now.

Each of us looks forward to working with our friend James again in the future. His story isn't over—not by a long shot.

There is little due process in the court of public opinion. James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial. Given the political divide in this country, it's safe to say instances like this will continue, although we hope Americans from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassinations and stop weaponizing mob mentality.

It is our hope that what has transpired can serve as an example for all of us to realize the enormous responsibility we have to ourselves and to each other regarding the use of our written words when we etch them in digital stone; that we as a society may learn from this experience and in the future will think twice before we decide what we want to express; and in so learning perhaps can harness this capability to help and heal instead of hurting each other. Thank you for taking the time to read our words.

The Guardians of the Galaxy

Gunn's tweets, which involved violence and sexual assault against children, were disgusting, but they were clearly intended as gags; in any event, the director has apologized for them. As I noted last week, making them an issue now is an act of pure retaliation against the left (Gunn is a liberal), perpetrated by far-right hypocrites who are just as committed to weaponizing P.C. culture as anyone on the other side of the spectrum.

The Guardians stars aren't the only ones who want Gunn back. A Change.org petition calling for Disney to rehire the filmmaker has garnered nearly 340,000 signatures.

Advertisement

NEXT: Pickle Fight Reveals the Destructive Pettiness of Texas Food Regulators

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “As I noted last week, making them an issue now is an act of pure retaliation against the left (Gunn is a liberal), perpetrated by far-right hypocrites who are just as committed to weaponizing P.C. culture as anyone on the other side of the spectrum.”

    Why does this matter?

    1. Because the left wants to be able to keep getting people fired for accurately quoting what other people said in the past.
      (disclosure, I don’t own any Papa John stock, and never did)

      1. Chris Pratt has said neither political party represents him, and is open about his Christian beliefs.
        Michael Rooker is an avid shooter, and a 2nd Amendment defender.

        So characterizing the cast’s letter as an action of “the left” isn’t terribly accurate.

        1. Apologies… meant to post this downthread.

        2. No Christians on the left?

          Really?

          1. They’re more of the “God as Santa Claus” variety.

    2. Because you should forget about how others who were fired for telling bad jokes, because they had the wrong politics. Get it now, bigot?

        1. Opposing Trump can cover a multitude of sins, although the experience of Harvey Weinstein and #metoo has demonstrated the limits of that strategy since Trump took office.

          What is really unforgivable is making a popular television show that portrays Trump voters as thinking, rational human beings. For Hollywood, THAT is an unacceptable perversion.

    3. To be sure, it doesn’t.

    4. The important fact isn’t that PC culture is weaponized, it’s that the other side is doing it too.

      I’m see a dim glimmer of hope that by the right weaponizing PC culture, maybe everyone will go back to their fucking corners and shut the fuck up.

      1. We need to recognize and accept that the Great Culture War has moved into the war of attrition phase. The two sides will slug it out, taking out each other’s cannon fodder until someone finally drops a metaphorical nuke or two.

        1. The Left’s attempts to ban Trump from Twitter would certainly qualify as a nuclear first strike.

          This would almost certainly result in a massive counterstrike from the Right in the form of a boycott of the platform, which would leave the company’s stock in roughly the same condition as downtown Hiroshima at 8:20 AM on August 6, 1945.

    5. It matters because.

      But mainly it matters because Joe Setyon is Reason’s newest edition to their culture war Sturmabteilung and he has to put something on the page.

    6. Joe graduated from Grove City College in 2017

      Joe thinks history started in 2016. He doesn’t know the Left has been playing this game – and winning by default – longer than he’s been alive. It’s only now that the bear has gotten tired of getting poked and decided he’s going to have to get up and maul a few people that suddenly the guys with the sticks want to start talking about letting sleeping bears lie.

  2. Well unfortunately they’re not the guardians of righteous outrage. That’s the twittersphere’s jurisdiction.

  3. What was that famous quote – “follow the money”, yeah, that’s it.

  4. Being a progressive means never having to live by the same rules that you establish for others

    1. Roman Polanski gives this comment a thumbs up!

      1. In Polanski’s defense it wasn’t really all that “politically incorrect” to sodomize a luded-up 13 year old model back in the 1970s.

        1. Go on…

          (No Disney contract in my future anyway…)

        2. That’s right, it’s not like it was ‘rape’ rape.

        3. It’s only a matter of time before #MeToo discovers what those superbands of the 1970s did with all those teenage groupies after their concerts.

    2. It’s actually more shocking that Gunn would lose his job, considering the industry is notorious for its pedophilia issues.

  5. You can try but will not succeed in blaming Gunn’s firing on “Right wing trolls”. They didn’t fire him, Disney did. Take up your cause for Gunn with them.

    1. Last I checked, Disney wasn’t that conservative. Lefties like to pretend that everything “family friendly” is right wing authoritarianism, but Disney was on the forefront of gay rights and stuff. Which drove a former Mouseketeer bonkers. I’ve actually worked there, and it’s as mainstream corporate as any California company. Which means lefty. Not actually SJW but enough nods in that direction to get a pass in the SJW playbook.

      1. Disney is so risk averse (and hostile to directors in general) that this move should surprise no one.

        And yes, the blame is with Disney. Being a provider of sanitized opiates for the masses to the point where they will accept virtually no controversy surrounding their brand is the reason, and frankly Gunn was going to get the axe sooner or later anyway with his past history.

        And no, Gunn being fired does not qualify as a controversy to Disney.

        And no, it will almost certainly not harm their bottom line since the people who go and watch their movies are, by and large, people who don’t care about how ‘good’ the movie was but rather ‘did the CGI explosions look awesome’. Sorry folks, it’s just true even if an accident slips out now and then. They’re selling to overseas markets that can’t even follow the plot, folks.

        This is an example of a Reason author taking the tack of ‘that speech was a weapon’ which is a curious position for a magazine that claims it isn’t Progressive.

  6. As I noted last week, making them an issue now is an act of pure retaliation against the left (Gunn is a liberal), perpetrated by far-right hypocrites who are just as committed to weaponizing P.C. culture as anyone on the other side of the spectrum.

    Gunn agitated for the boycott against Ingraham.

    Holding someone to their own standards doesn’t make you a hypocrite. That is asinine. You and Robby should know better.

    1. 100% this!

      People in glass houses shouldn’t throw pedophile gags at nude commentators, or something like that.

      I think it is terrible that some people dumpster dive to find dirt on other people that they don’t like politically. But I don’t have a lot of sympathy for a dumpster diver who also turns out to have his own easily found dirt (even if he previously apologized for it).

  7. It never ceases to amaze me how the left continually refuses to lie in the bed in which they made..

    1. It shouldn’t.

      The entire Soviet system was built on “One rule for Party Members, one for the Proles.”

  8. If only there were some sort of cautionary tale warning of the risk of having the monster you created turn on you.

    1. Is it ironic that Mary Shelley was a proto-progg?

  9. Given that the first film was fun and the second one blew chunks, Gunn should be glad to have gotten out while the getting is good.

    Now he can look back at the 3rd one which will be a steaming turd that makes money because international audiences like to watch stuff blow up on a big screen and laugh.

    1. I couldn’t stand the first one because the soundtrack was every crappy pop song of the 1970s that I had heard once when I was a kid and never wanted to hear again. And some people praised the soundtrack! Insanity.

  10. “Guardians of the Galaxy Stars Want”

    don’t care.

  11. As I noted last week, making them an issue now is an act of pure retaliation against the left (Gunn is a liberal), perpetrated by far-right hypocrites who are just as committed to weaponizing P.C. culture as anyone on the other side of the spectrum.

    Yeah? Get back to us when you write the outraged column the next time a right-winger gets fired at the behest of left-wing outrage.

    Yeah it’s an act of retaliation. What did you expect? That’s not called hypocrisy, that’s called what comes around, goes around.

    1. Crybully is always gonna cry about getting instead of giving.

    2. It’s good to hurt progtards.

  12. Yet another teachable moment that everything you post is forever. We old farts, of all people, know that. Somehow the tech savvy generations never figured it out.

    It’s one reason Europe is so big into “right to be forgotten” because they’re worse than the millenials, and want the government to come in and save them from unfortunate MySpace pages they made back in their teens.

    1. Yet another teachable moment that everything you post is forever. We old farts, of all people, know that. Somehow the tech savvy generations never figured it out.

      Gunn is over 50 and those tweets were posted when he was in his early 40s. Perhaps the problem is that Gunn is simply an infantile human being.

  13. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  14. I think we can all agree on some common-sense Gunn control.

  15. What were his tweets? I have yet to see them. Were they funny (that’s all that matters).

    Nasty jokes involving kids usually are funny as there’s such a fetish and phony righteousness with children.

    1. They were not funny
      They were… weird

      1. Rape + children = never funny

  16. Sorry Joe but the left wrote the terms of engagement. It’s not hypocritical to fight back using exactly the tactics and charges being leveled against you.

    Is it wrong, sure but talk to those who’ve started and continuously escalated the fight until it can’t be ignored anymore.

  17. Rosanne’s co-workers wouldn’t dare ask that she get her job back.

    Some guilt by association being more guilty than others.

  18. Gunn’s tweets, which involved violence and sexual assault against children, were disgusting, but they were clearly intended as gags;

    So being offensive is ok, so long as you couch it in a joke?

    So, Joe, how’s about you sing us a n***** work song?

    Can I say that here?

    Can I say that anywhere?


    1. So, Joe, how’s about you sing us a n***** work song?

      Sure thing, boss!

      *clears his throat*

      *starts in on I Get a Kick Out of You, by Sinatra*

      1. You know Joe had to Google then Youtube all of this…

        1. Well, you quoted one of my favorite movies of all time so I sort of had to take the bait.

  19. As has been pointed out by others, the only involvement of “the far right” was a few right-of-center individuals bringing facts to the attention of a largely “left wing mob” and Gunn’s employer.

  20. I don’t disagree. I also know that if he was conservative, they would not have written this letter at all.

    Their anger is that a leftie got caught up in a mob mentality that the left has been stirring up for years.

  21. Where’s the hypocrisy involved in any of this?

    It’s not hypocritical for us to point out that anti 2A celebs are surrounded by armed security, or even have guns themselves. If they tweeted pro NRA message or joked about shooting people 10 years ago, someone in the right media would point it out. So what?

    It’s hypocritical for the opposition to reveal the other side’s hypocrisy? The left is keen on regulating offensive speech. Racial slurs of any context often cost someone’s career. So when we find that offenders often come from their side, we turn the tables on them.

    The right wing has not engaged in any dangerous mob behavior in this episode – UNLIKE the left in many other instances. If Disney finds it untenable to abide by PC standard, they can change policy and defer to due process and the first amendment. We give them that choice. Most of us aren’t interested in doxxing anyone, harassing employees on the street, destroying Disney property, etc.

    1. Setyon really needs to put down the Gunn in his hand before he starts calling anyone out for “weaponizing P.C. culture.”

      But, in his defense, he’s like a fish that cannot see the water in which he floats.

  22. “It is our hope that what has transpired can serve as an example for all of us to realize the enormous responsibility we have to ourselves and to each other regarding the use of our written words when we etch them in digital stone; that we as a society may learn from this experience and in the future will think twice before we decide what we want to express; and in so learning perhaps can harness this capability to help and heal instead of hurting each other. ”

    No mention that the author of the open letter believes that the antidote to free speech is self-censorship? We must sanitize all of our outward thoughts in case some feel offended by us, even if nothing was meant to offend.

  23. I don’t have a particularly strong opinion one way or the other about Gunn’s firing except to point out that he was a willing part of the same kind of internet mob that brought him down and that his former co-workers are now imploring people to back away from. I don’t like that people are getting fired for comments that they made years ago but the only way it’s going to change is when it affects the people who have most been pushing this tactic. It’s not just people getting fired, the SJW crowd has turned their normal politicization of pop culture up to eleven and this is one of the few times I can think of where they’re seeing the “new rules” being turned against one of their own. If Gunn had been an innocent in this, I would probably agree with the authors of the letter but as he was a willing participant in it until now (and his colleagues were copiously silent then), I’m not going to lose any sleep if he has to pay the same price as other people that he and his co-politicos went after.

  24. I’ve only seen the first one but Glenn Close was playing the bad guy, right? There’s also some other bad actors but ultimately the tyranny is that of the Nova Corps, yes?

    1. We finally get Warlock in the third one. Hopefully they don’t screw that up.

  25. OK, I know kind of what Gunn said – what I *don’t* know is what he did to encourage the left-wing outrage mobs – for which he is supposedly suffering retaliation.

    Can anyone give me a Cliff’s Notes version?

    1. The tl;dr is that he was involved in the internet lynch mob that sacked Roseane.

      “I wish the so-called defenders of liberty would understand what free speech is AND isn’t. Roseanne is free to say what she wants. It doesn’t mean ABC Network has to keep funding her TV show if her words are considered abhorrent.”

      1. OK, but he didn’t wait 10 years for his outrage.

  26. As I noted last week, making them an issue now is an act of pure retaliation against the left (Gunn is a liberal), perpetrated by far-right hypocrites who are just as committed to weaponizing P.C. culture as anyone on the other side of the spectrum.

    Unbelievable. Setyon is still criticizing them and insisting their position cannot be tactical even as he comments on their tactic’s success. I’m not sure I’ve ever read anyone more pigheaded.

  27. They are among the best movies in the franchise so I say he him back. That and dark humor is the best humor

  28. Honest question for those of you in the “hold them to their own standards” camp – did you support water boarding? Would you support putting murders who tortured their victims to a painful death? I’m honestly interested in what limits, if any, you would put on that rule.

    1. 1. No, because as far as I know, the people we waterboard didn’t do it to someone else.
      2. Yep.

      Neither are particularly good analogies though. Better to say “do you think we should not extend the “rules of war” to enemies that refuse to abide the same. Or “do you believe we should nuke someone who nukes us”

      If you don’t, and your enemies are even remotely close to parity in power, you are basically saying “lie down and die because fighting back is fighting evil with evil”

      1. I purposely avoided more general war since that inevitably involves non-combatants. But from what you are saying, it sounds like you see this as approaching an existential threat.

        1. Lynch, when the left has already targeted and successfully gotten hotdog stand workers fired–and they have–using this nonsense, it is an existential threat.

          1. I can accept that we have an honest difference of opinion on that point. But for some context – 9/11 killed a lot of people and was undoubtedly an act of war that absolutely deserved/required a military response. But I wouldn’t consider terrorism an existential threat to the United States, and I don’t think our response to terrorism has been well measured or calibrated to the seriousness of the threat.

            Similarly, the left outrage mob has undoubtedly damaged people’s lives and livelihoods, and it deserves vigorous resistance and needs to be defanged. But I don’t think it poses an existential threat to classically liberal values *unless* we let it through our response, or unless it truly becomes accepted by the majority of the country. I think there is a lot more resistance to these tactics and the values that motivate them than is widely perceived, and I think doubling down on our commitment to free speech is a better tactic for keeping the middle from drifting towards the far left on this issue than adopting their approach.

            1. Intellectually I want to agree with you, but it strikes me as a rather luxuriously insulated response. It leaves all of the people being damaged to simply keep suffering and it tells the group that is suffering the most from the depredations that in your opinion they just need to heroically suffer for your ideals. By and large the left has chosen to ignore the injustice where they don’t instead support, defend, and even urge on the outrage mobs.

              The objections have been going on for years, but it seems like the pain that might cause something to get done has only begun when the other side has chosen to adopt the same rules of engagement. Do you have a suggestion for actually ending this undemocratic, uncivilized behavior quickly instead of sitting back and letting people suffer until it blows over? I would very much like to hear it if you do.

              1. I want to believe that these tactics are being used by an extreme wing of the left that is beginning to worry even their fellow travelers, but that those fellow travelers don’t yet have the backbone to jettison the extremists. I also want to believe that the best way to combat those extremists is by vigorously and proudly standing up for ideals of free speech and true intellectual tolerance while also promoting civility, and that doing so will provide a rallying point for the silent majority that agrees with us. I DON’T want to leave the victims of the outage mob to suffer for my ideals, o just want to send then in a way consistent with my ideals.

                1. I also don’t think turning the extreme lefts tactics on them is going to change their or many other people’s minds. It’s more likely to push people we could convince to the sidelines or to one of the two extremes. It’ll make the underlying problems worse.

                  1. That may not be very satisfying but we are taking about cultural tends, and culture isn’t something you control with dials and knobs. It’s like an economy in that regard. So I don’t have a silver bullet, but from my perspective that’s all the more reason to stick to tried and true principles.

    2. I’d like to know if this Gunn fellow got people fired who (a) were on the other side and (b) didn’t deserve to be fired.

      If it’s just that he’s a left-wing jerk, I wouldn’t think that’s enough.

      I also wouldn’t think it’s enough that “other people on the left” did bad things. It would have to be Gunn specifically, and it would have to be sufficiently bad.

      1. As for murderers, there’s no way a civilized system can approach the cruelty of the most sadistic murderers, so it shouldn’t try, lest it stop being civilized. At best the death penalty would be appropriate, after a fair trial, but only for the worst offenses and not carried out tortuously.

        I can maybe see some kind of “enhanced interrogation” with a ticking time bomb, but that’s about it for me.

        In short, the debate over Gunn has been discussed here in terms of deterrence, not pure retribution, and there’s also proportionality to consider.

    3. They’re just making it up as they go. They have no standards. They will just mimic whatever they think “the left” does and justify it with “but they did it first!!!”

      Either you hold yourself to standards that YOU believe are right, or you have no standards and you let everyone else dictate your course of action. You can’t control what your opponents do, but you can control what you do. And right now, the “hold them to their own standards” brigade have completely let their opponents control them.

      1. Thankfully you’re there to provide the selective outrage. Sure seems like the “don’t own the libs” team is the one being reactionary here.

    4. Honest question: Were you the least bit concerned before this started impacting the left?

      1. Honest answer: Yes, very.

  29. They weren’t jokes they were provocations. “This video of young girls made me jizz” is not a joke.

  30. Much ado about nothing. Gunn will never have trouble finding work in Hollywood.

  31. James Gunn being politically incorrect was fired by Disney it was a matter of debate for some but the reasons seems valid.though the humorous part was he is back again in limelight
    Hey girl. I can teach you a thing or two about attraction.~ Magneto
    You know what girl, I can hit all the right spots.~ Bullseye
    Want to see what I can do with my tongue? ~ Venom
    Going to bed, eh? I suppose you wouldn’t mind if I Slytherin..~ Voldemort
    allpickuplines.com/puns

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.