Despite the fact that it would be a very easy PR win with a teachable lesson, that it would result in another sure-fire hit movie, and that it’s the right thing to do, Disney reportedly has no intention of rehiring James Gunn to direct Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3. Gunn was fired from the film late last month after some right-wing trolls, including Jack Posobiec and Mike Cernovich, dug up a series of decade-old tweets that Gunn had made involving jokes about rape and pedophilia (Gunn was presumably targeted because he has been an outspoken critic of Donald Trump). The tweets were objectively disgusting and tasteless, but since this controversy bubbled up, Gunn’s brother Sean, Bobcat Goldthwait, and the entire core cast of Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 have spoken out in support of Gunn, with some of the Guardians actors specifically asking Disney to re-hire him.
Variety says it’s not going to happen, though, because both Disney and Marvel apparently think that the jokes Gunn made “are unacceptable in the #MeToo era and are not in line with Disney’s family-friendly image.” This is according to unnamed sources and isn’t any kind of official statement from Disney, but Variety says that the fact that Gunn’s firing involved input from Disney Studios head Alan Horn and Disney CEO Bob Iger means it’ll be hard for the campaign to re-hire him to gain much “internal support.” On top of that, there is “widespread belief” at Disney at the Guardians actors won’t quit in solidarity with Gunn, because “most are under contract and would face legal action” if they refuse to participate in Vol. 3.
Variety also suggests that Disney’s supposed decision to stand its ground here is part of the new “zero tolerance climate” in Hollywood, pointing to the fact that Roseanne Barr was fired by ABC—which is owned by Disney—not long after she posted a racist comment on Twitter (though that reading ignores the fact that ABC had no problem with all of the hateful bullshit Barr had been posting on Twitter before that). Also, Variety claims that it’s “unlikely” that Disney will work with Johnny Depp on any future Pirates Of The Caribbean or Alice In Wonderland movies, which similarly ignores the fact that Disney had no problem releasing Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales a year after Amber Heard accused Depp of domestic violence.
Basically, as Bobcat Goldthwait pointed out recently, it would be hard for Disney to argue that refusing to rehire Gunn is consistent with its policies when its policies aren’t consistent.