James Gunn was fired Friday as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 because of old tweets that recently emerged where he joked about subjects like pedophilia and rape.
Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said in a statement that the tweets are indefensible, and the studio has severed ties with Gunn.
Gunn has been writer and director of the Guardians franchise from the start, taking an obscure Marvel Comics title about a group of misfits and turning it into two huge hits that together totalled more than $1.5 billion in global box office.
Gunn on Thursday sent several tweets saying he was sorry for trying in the past to get laughs through shock value.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies.
4. 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.
5. Anyway, that’s the completely honest truth: I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore. I don’t blame my past self for this, but I like myself more and feel like a more full human being and creator today. Love you to you all.
His publicists did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The Guardians franchise stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista and features the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel.