Disney has fired writer-director James Gunn from the "Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise after a series of old tweets he made about rape and pedophilia resurfaced.
"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," Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said in statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Friday, July 20.
James Gunn, who helmed the two “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, which have grossed a total of $ 1.6 billion worldwide, wrote the tweets – on rape and molestation – which got him fired around 2009 and 2012.
They resurfaced this week Gunn – a popular critic of President Trump’s administration – called out Trump on Twitter, causing internet personality Mike Cernovich to search through Gunn’s Twitter history.
Reacting to the resurfaced tweets on Thursday, July 19, Gunn apologized for telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo, adding that he has since developed as a person.
Gunn also issued a statement on Friday, saying that he regretted the tweets, adding that they don’t reflect who he is today.
"My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative," his statement read. "I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don’t reflect the person I am today or have been for some time."
He continued: "Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today. Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then. All I can do now, beyond offering my sincere and heartfelt regret, is to be the best human being I can be: accepting, understanding, committed to equality, and far more thoughtful about my public statements and my obligations to our public discourse. To everyone inside my industry and beyond, I again offer my deepest apologies. Love to all."
Before he was fired, Gunn was writing the script for "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," which was expected to begin shooting in Atlanta in 2019, and released in 2020.