A tweet from ten years ago shouldn’t ruin your career
By Katie Czenczek, Staff Writer
Whether or not you care about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, James Gunn being fired should aggravate you.
Gunn, writer and director of the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies, was originally slotted as the writer and director for the upcoming threequel until Disney Studios decided to send him packing based on some insensitive tweets. These tweets were made in 2009 and 2010 and made tasteless jokes about molestation and pedophilia. Sure, they are wildly inappropriate and not the kind of material that falls under the Disney “brand.” That being said, I believe that the company has completely overreacted to the situation.
Let me break it down. Gunn’s tweets recirculated around after right-wing online personality, Mike Cernovich, went through at least a decade worth of Gunn’s tweets until he hit a slanderous gold mine—that is, he found some inappropriate tweets that can get a person fired in today’s climate (unless you’re Donald Trump, of course). According to The Verge, Cernovich has made a career of targeting people whose political beliefs do not line up with his, and with James Gunn’s outspoken criticism against the current President of the United States, he was the perfect target for Cernovich’s next smear campaign.
Cernovich’s motives for targeting Gunn aside, I sincerely do not believe that Disney chose to terminate James Gunn’s contract from a moral standpoint. After all, Disney is a company, and companies need to remain in the public’s good graces to continue receiving money. The company’s public relations team was likely having a panic attack over all the possible parents who were concerned about a writer-director who would make those kinds of jokes being in contact with a bunch of children. But James Gunn wasn’t working as Disney princess at the most magical place on Earth. The man is creating movies. Good movies, too, that bring in Disney a lot of revenue. Not only was this an irrational move to make in terms of how quickly after the tweets were resurfaced that they said goodbye to Gunn, but it’s also just a terrible economic blunder. It may cost them Dave Bautista’s acting chops as well, as the actor has publicly expressed strong opposition to the decision, as have other members of the main cast.
While I don’t think that because people are a fan of someone’s work should they be exempt from being punished for their actions, James Gunn has clearly felt remorse for his words already and his so-called crime was committed almost a decade ago. If the statute of limitations for assault runs out after six months, why should Gunn be fired for something he said almost ten years ago? I can only imagine the idiotic crap that spewed from my mouth ten years ago, and it would be ridiculous if I were fired for such a thing.
For a broader scope of the situation, the larger problem is the current trend that when the masses scream and shout, people get crucified. James Gunn is not the first person to be fired over an insensitive tweet, nor will he be the last. The problem with this firing, however, is that he did not make these comments recently, nor did he refuse to apologize for saying such things. It would be different if he made those tweets while working for Disney the way Roseanne Barr did while representing ABC.
Overall, I just want companies to stop relying on Twitter while choosing to fire someone, as ridiculous as that may sound. It’s unfair to the employee, and like this case with James Gunn, the public.