A day after Disney severed ties with James Gunn over years-old, offensive tweets, Sen. Ted Cruz stepped into the firestorm, suggesting the Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director should face prosecution.
"Wow. These #JamesGunn tweets are just horrible," the Texas Republican wrote on Saturday in a tweet that included screenshots of the filmmaker's crude jokes about rape and pedophilia. "Child rape is no laughing matter. As Texas SG, I handled far too many child sexual assaults. Truly evil. I’m glad Disney fired him, but if these tweets are true, he needs to be prosecuted."
Gunn's comments, made roughly between 2008 and 2012, were unearthed earlier this week by some of his right-wing detractors, and broadcast 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 promoter of "Pizzagate," the false theory that high-ranking Democrats were involved in a child-sex ring, Cernovich previously targeted MSNBC contributor Sam Seder, and briefly succeed in getting him removed from the cable network.
Wow. These #JamesGunn tweets are just horrible. Child rape is no laughing matter. As Texas SG, I handled far too many child sexual assaults. Truly evil. I’m glad Disney fired him, but if these tweets are true, he needs to be prosecuted. pic.twitter.com/1IgHC18J4x
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 21, 2018
Cruz said last year he would work with former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore if he were elected to the Senate amid multiple accusations of child molestation (he wasn't). Cruz initially endorsed Moore, but rescinded his support as the allegations mounted. Asked before the December special election whether the Senate should expel Moore should he win, Cruz replied, "Of course note. If the voters of Alabama choose to elect him, for some Washington politicians to say that we don't care what the voters say, I think that would be a mistake." However, he went on to characterize allegations of sexual misconduct against then-Democratic Sen. Al Franken a "serious, serious problem."
An outspoken liberal who regularly criticizes President Trump on Twitter, Gunn issued an apology on Thursday night, emphasizing, “when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out.” Nevertheless, Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn on Friday announced Gunn's firing from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, calling his tweets "indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values."
Gunn released a subsequent statement on Friday, saying he took "full responsibility" for his "wildly insensitive" comments, and understood Disney's decision to cut business ties with him.
The filmmaker's period as a self-described "provocateur" isn't exactly a secret. Shortly after he was named as director of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy in 2012, Gunn drew criticism for a “superhero sex poll” on his website that was viewed as misogynistic and homophobic. There were calls at the time for the studio to fire Gunn for the comments, which swung between merely juvenile and fully offensive. The director swiftly apologized for those remarks, characterizing them as “poorly worded and offensive to many.”
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.