After taking time to consider the situation, Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt finally released a statement regarding the dismissal of film series director James Gunn ten days ago.
Gunn was targeted by an extreme right-wing website for distasteful jokes he made a decade ago regarding pedophilia and rape. When Gunn was first announced as director of the initial Guardians film, these jokes came to light and the geek press litigated the man; who showed contrition then and now. To anyone who may have happened to meet him in the MySpace days, Gunn was definitely an edgelord — though the term would not become prominent for another five of six years. But as Pratt and the cast state in their statement, Gunn is also a man who grew up significantly since MySpace and the early days of Twitter.
And in a Twitter post, Pratt said he does not condone the jokes, but Gunn is “a good man. I’d personally love to see him reinstated as director of Volume 3.” The post then linked to a statement signed by the whole cast on Pratt’s Instagram account.
In our initial reporting, we noted the validity of Gunn’s edgelord tendencies — we were there at the time — but we also noted the extremist website’s blatant attempt to create a false equivalency with the #MeToo movement and the cancellation of Roseanne‘s 11th season following creator and star Roseanne Barr’s racist joke on Twitter. And in the weeks since, others have noted the psy-op nature of the “outrage” and Disney’s knee-jerk reaction. Since then, other left-leaning celebrities on Twitter like Dan Harmon have faced censure for ill-advised jokes and sketches in their younger days. The fact is: extremist groups acting in bad faith now know corporations fear the word “pedophile” and will use it to their advantage.
But by standing with Gunn, the cast of the Guardians films state quite clearly that it may not be an advantage for long.