Disney rehires fired Guardians director

NEW YORK • Disney fired a top gun over offensive tweets, but James Gunn has been quietly reinstated as writer-director of Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 3.

The decision, made a few months ago, is an about-face from the company's move last July to sack the 52-year-old over years-old messages that made light of topics including rape, paedophilia and the Holocaust.

Gunn tweeted his gratitude shortly after the news was first reported last Saturday by Deadline.

"I deeply appreciate Disney's decision and I am excited to continue making films that investigate the ties of love that bind us all," he said.

"I have been and continue to be incredibly humbled by your support."

Gunn took responsibility for the now-deleted tweets and explained them in a statement at the time.

"Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo," he wrote, in part, back then.

"As I have discussed publicly many times, as I've developed as a person, so has my work and my humour... I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don't anymore."

Despite an outpouring of public support for him, including by Guardians actor Dave Bautista, Disney wielded the axe.

"The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James' Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio's values," Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn had said then.

After he was fired, Gunn wrote: "I understand and accept the business decisions. All I can do now, beyond offering my sincere and heartfelt regret, is to be the best human being I can be."

Mr Horn reportedly met Gunn several times after the firing and was persuaded by how the director handled the situation, Deadline reported.

As the news spread, fans began rejoicing on Twitter and praising Disney's decision to rehire Gunn, who helmed the first two Guardians films.

Released in 2014 and 2017, they earned a combined US$1.6 billion (S$2.2 billion) worldwide.

DPA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2019, with the headline 'Disney rehires fired Guardians director'. Print Edition | Subscribe