James Gunn said he understands and accepts Disney's decision to remove him as writer and director of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after "wildly insensitive" comments he made years ago about rape and pedophilia resurfaced on social media.
“My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative,” he said in a statement provided to TheWrap. “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.”
“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,” Gunn continued. “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.”
Gunn's offensive comments, made between 2008 and 2011, were unearthed by some of his right-wing detractors, and to distributed to a wider audience on Thursday by alt-right provocateur and conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich, who pointed to them as evidence of “pedo network operating in Hollywood.” A vocal liberal, Gunn routinely criticizes President Trump on Twitter, and jousts with his supporters.
The filmmaker issued an apology on Thursday night, emphasizing, "when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out."
However, this afternoon Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn release a statement this afternoon, saying, "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."
Gunn had recently completed a draft of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which had been expected to begin filming in January in Atlanta, in time for a 2020 release.