UPDATE (7/20/18, 6:40 p.m. ET): A representative for Gunn has issued a statement on his behalf.
“My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative,” he said. “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.”
He continued: “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.”
The next installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise may look and sound a little different. Director and writer James Gunn has been fired after a series of problematic tweets were unearthed from the depths of his feed, multiple outlets report.
The first two films were released to massive success, with the sequel's $863 million worldwide box office haul out-grossing the first movie by $90 million — and the third Chris Pratt-starrer was likely to be even bigger.
Nonetheless, the decision to remove Gunn from all future projects came quickly after his Twitter excavation. Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn promptly told outlets, "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."
For his part, Gunn took to the social media outlet in question to issue an apology, insisting he is "very, very different" now than he was when he wrote the insensitive sentiments. Read his five-part Twitter thread in full:
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.
In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies.
For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out. 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. Love you to you all.
Gunn previously announced that he had submitted a first draft of the third film’s script, with production set to begin after the release of Avengers 4 in 2019. There have been no announcements regarding the fate of the third film since Gunn’s removal.