James Gunn will no longer make a planned appearance this evening at Sony Pictures' Hall H presentation at Comic-Con International after being fired as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 for newly unearthed offensive tweets.
The filmmaker had cryptically teased a project on Twitter, but it's unknown what it is. The centerpieces of the panel are the live-action Venom and the animated Spider-Man: Into the Universe, with which Gunn had no involvement.
Disney announced this afternoon that it has severed ties with Gunn following a social-media firestorm fueled by years-old offensive tweets the filmmaker made about such taboo topics as rape and pedophilia, uncovered by his right-wing detractors. Their cause was quickly picked up on Thursday by alt-right provocateur and conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, who viewed them as confirmation of belief that there is a “pedo network operating in Hollywood.”
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 17, 2018
An outspoken liberal who frequently takes aim at President Trump on Twitter, Gunn apologized for the jokes on Thursday night, writing, writing, ““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. 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.”
“For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out,” he continued. “I know this is a weird statement to make, and seems obvious, but, still, here I am, saying it. 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.”
Nevertheless, Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn labeled Gunn's comments "as indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values," and announced an end to their professional relationship. Gunn had already completed a draft of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which had been expected to begin production in January in Atlanta.