James Gunn has been fired as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 according to THR on Friday.
Controversial tweets were circulated by conservative personalities on Twitter in which Gunn made jokes about topics such as rape and pedophilia primarily during the years of 2008 and 2009.
The offensive social media posts were resurfaced after a conservative news website, The Daily Caller discovered the tweets. Conservative personalities on Twitter sent them out to their own followers asking for people to confront Gunn at San Diego Comic-Con. Gunn has been known to be an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump.
Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said in a statement:
"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 took to Twitter to explain his past actions in a series of tweets. "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."
5. 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. Love you to you all.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 20, 2018
Gunn issued a statement on Friday afternoon saying the controversial tweets "don't reflect the person I am today," and that he regretted them.
His statement reads:
"My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative. 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. 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."
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was set to begin shooting in Atlanta this fall, with an expected release date in 2020. Gunn has been writing the script and was attached as the writer and director for the third installment in April 2017 after the continued success of the second film. It is unknown who will be taking over the film at this time.
Jessie Wade is a news writer at IGN. Follow her on Twitter @jessieannwade for updates.