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20 Mar 2019 5:55
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  •   Home > News > International

    Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn rehired after axing over rape jokes

    Months after being fired over old tweets joking about rape and paedophilia, James Gunn is rehired by the Walt Disney Company to direct the third instalment of the popular Marvel franchise.


    Months after being fired over old tweets joking about rape and sexual abuse, James Gunn has been rehired as director of the third Guardians of the Galaxy film.

    Representatives for the Walt Disney Company and Mr Gunn confirmed he had been reinstated as writer-director of the Marvel franchise that he has guided from the start.

    Mr Gunn was fired last July over tweets from nearly a decade ago in which he joked about subjects like paedophilia and rape.

    The director earlier apologised for the tweets, which he called "unfortunate efforts to be provocative".

    Disney chairman Alan Horn said Mr Gunn's words were inconsistent with the studio's values, prompting it to "sever our business relationship with him".

    The comments, made from 2008 to 2011, were brought to light by alt-right personalities Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec who combed through Mr Gunn's social media history after his criticism of US President Donald Trump.

    But his dismissal was passionately protested by many, including the Guardians of the Galaxy cast, who supported the embattled director in an open letter.

    "Although I don't support James Gunn's inappropriate jokes from years ago, he is a good man," actor Chris Pratt said.

    In a statement, Mr Gunn said he was "tremendously grateful" for the support he had received in the months since his dismissal.

    "I am always learning and will continue to work at being the best human being I can be," he said.

    Mr Gunn added a thank you to Disney and said he was excited to "continue making films that investigate the ties of love that bind us all".

    He has since signed on to write and direct the next instalment of Suicide Squad for the Marvel rival DC Comics. That film is to shoot in autumn and be released in August 2021.

    A Disney spokesman declined to comment on when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 might go into production.

    The first two films have made more than $1.5 billion in worldwide ticket sales.

    AP

    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


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