Director James Gunn poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’, in London, Monday, Apr. 24, 2017. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
I’ve made it very clear that things people have said or done in the distant past shouldn’t be held against them. Even things said nowadays can be taken so seriously that the punishment thrust upon individuals by society doesn’t fit the crime. You can ask Rosanne Barr about that.
But one of those people I had always thought got a raw deal was Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn.
Gunn was let go by Disney after tweets of his surfaced from nearly a decade ago where he made crass jokes about pedophilia. As I made clear during his firing, my position was simple. The jokes were disgusting, they were wrong…and they were jokes.
Joking about pedophilia, as gross as it is, hardly makes someone guilty of promoting pedophilia, much less taking part in it. If joking about something makes you guilty of said thing, then you and I should both be in prison for a long time. It’s either that or never say you’re going to kill someone after they forget to refill the coffee pot at work again.
So I was more than pleased to hear that Gunn had been given his job back by Disney, and will now pick back up with the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.
“I am tremendously grateful to every person out there who has supported me over the past few months,” Gunn tweeted Friday. “I am always learning and will continue to work at being the best human being I can be. I deeply appreciate Disney’s decision and I am excited to continue making films that investigate the ties of love that bind us all. I have been, and continue to be incredibly humbled by your love and support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Love to you all.”
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) March 15, 2019
While many would consider this wrong, consider that the thing he’s getting away with is something he shouldn’t have been punished for in the first place. It’s bad enough that the social justice infested left has made comedy a risky affair, and none of us should be helping that along by encouraging the firing of someone based off of something they said with zero seriousness that we didn’t like. In Gunn’s case, he was trying to shock people, which he succeeded in doing years after he made the jokes.
Gunn even acknowledged that his attempts at being edgy were ridiculous.
“My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative,” his statement read when he was fired in July of 2018. “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.”
In the end, this is a victory against the outrage mob, and I’m always happy to see them lose. They’ve made us less free as a society to express ourselves, even if the person expressing themselves is saying something completely innocuous.
Gunn himself as stood against the outrage mob on many occasion. He’s defended GotG actor Chris Pratt when the mob was attacking him over asking for thoughts and prayers for director Kevin Smith when he suffered a heart attack. Gunn also defended Mark Duplass for reaching across the aisle to talk with Ben Shapiro. That’s more than most in Hollywood are willing to risk, especially when they lean heavily to the left as Gunn does.
Gunn and I may not see eye to eye on a lot, but that won’t stop me from thinking the guy has character and deserves a second chance, especially after having his first chance unfairly stripped from him.
Hopefully, Gunn will become an outspoken advocate for defending those who the mob would seek to unfairly have their chances taken away as well because the mob got salty over nonsense.