Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker James Gunn has broken his silence on his controversial firing and subsequent rehiring by Disney.
Gunn was removed from working on the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie in July 2018 after a number of his old tweets, in which he made light of paedophilia and rape, resurfaced online. However, Disney reneged on their decision in March and reinstated Gunn as the director of Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
“I feel and have felt bad for a while about some of the ways I spoke publicly; some of the jokes I made, some of the targets of my humour, just the unintentional consequences of not being more compassionate in what I’m putting out there,” he said in reference to the offensive tweets, which he apologised for at the time of his firing.
“I know that people have been hurt by things that I’ve said, and that’s still my responsibility, that I wasn’t as compassionate as I should be in what I say. I feel bad for that and take full responsibility. Disney totally had the right to fire me. This wasn’t a free speech issue. I said something they didn’t like and they completely had the right to fire me. There was never any argument of that.”
Describing the day he got fired as “the most intense of my entire life”, Gunn added: “It happened, and suddenly it seemed like everything was gone. I just knew, in a moment that happened incredibly quickly, I had been fired. It felt as if my career was over.” However, the director added that he then experienced “an outpouring of real love” from his family, friends and Guardians castmembers.
“That amount of love that I felt from my friends, my family, and the people in the community was absolutely overwhelming,” Gunn reflected. “In order for me to have fully felt that love for the first time, the thing that needed to happen was the apparatus by which I was feeling falsely loved had to be completely taken away. So a part of that day was the worst of my life, and a part of it was the greatest day of my life. I certainly haven’t been perfect in my spiritual journeys since that time, but I have been better.”
Asked about the day he was invited by Disney to return to Guardians of the Galaxy, Gunn recalled: “I was about to sit down and talk about The Suicide Squad with DC and I was excited about that. Alan [Horn, Disney Co-Chairman and Chief Creative Officer] asked me to come talk to him. I really believe he is a good man and I think he hired me back because he thought that was the right thing to do.
“I’ve known him a little, going back to the Scooby-Doo movies. I’ve always liked and admired him. I was touched by his compassion.”
It’s thought that Disney never sought out a replacement for Gunn after they initially terminated his involvement in Guardians of the Galaxy 3.