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James Gunn Recalls Getting Fired By Marvel, Whether He Was a Victim Of ‘Cancel Culture’

July 16, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
James Gunn Image Credit: Marvel Studios

James Gunn is riding high again, but it wasn’t all that long ago that he got fired from Marvel over his old tweets and he discussed the situation in a new interview. As you no doubt recall, Gunn was fired in July of 2018 from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after people dug up old tweets where he had made very offensive jokes. Gunn earned the support of his Guardians cast and in the meantime he went to Warner Bros. where he made The Suicide Squad before Marvel eventually relented and brought him back in March of 2019.

Now, with The Suicide Squad set to release on August 6th via theaters and HBO Max, Gunn looked back on the situation after he was asked about it in an interview with the New York Times. You can check out the highlights below:

On when he learned he’d been fired: “It was conveyed to me by Kevin Feige. I called Kevin the morning it was going on, and I said, “Is this a big deal?” And he goes, “I don’t know.” That was a moment. I was like, “You don’t know?” I was surprised. Later he called me — he himself was in shock — and told me what the powers that be had decided. It was unbelievable. And for a day, it seemed like everything was gone. Everything was gone. I was going to have to sell my house. I was never going to be able to work again. That’s what it felt like.”

On if the experience has made him more careful about what he says: “Yes and no. I’m more considerate of people’s feelings today. I had talked about this a lot before those tweets were [resurfaced]. They are awful things, that’s what my sense of humor was back then. But before this ever happened, I realized that I had closed myself off to things I thought were schmaltzy because I didn’t want to be vulnerable. This attitude — I can make a joke about anything, look how great I am — that’s just not the fullness of me as a human being. And I learned that long before I got called out for the tweets.”

On if he thinks he was a victim of ‘cancel culture’: “I understand people’s preoccupation with that term. But it’s such a bigger issue than that. Because cancel culture also is people like Harvey Weinstein, who should be canceled. People who have gotten canceled and then remain canceled — most of those people deserved that. The paparazzi are not just the people on the streets — they’re the people combing Twitter for any past sins. All of that sucks. It’s painful. But some of it is accountability. And that part of it is good. It’s just about finding that balance.”

On if he’s sympathetic when he sees people get in trouble for things they’ve posted online: “Even when the person has done something terrible, I still feel sympathy for that person. Because I’m a compassionate person and it’s part of my faith. Sometimes things get taken out of context. And sometimes somebody did something when they were in college — it’s 20 years later, they’ve lived a great life, it’s just too much. And then sometimes you read, oh, well, what he did was pretty awful.”