Right now, there is a petition to rehire James Gunn that has gotten nearly 130,000 signatures. It probably won’t do anything to help, but it definitely should.
On Friday, July 20, Disney severed all ties to James Gunn after numerous offensive tweets, joking about pedophilia and rape, were found and brought forward. I could tell you that these tweets were from nearly ten years ago and that Gunn himself apologized for them, declaring that he used to think telling “outrageous and taboo” jokes was funny, but doesn’t anymore. I could also point you towards Sean Gunn’s beautiful response to his brother’s firing.
But none of that really matters. Whether or not you think Gunn has changed and become a better person doesn’t change the fact that he made those jokes in the past. But it also doesn’t change the fact that the person who dragged them into the light today and the person who was in front of the charge to fire James Gunn was Mike Cernovich and that’s the real reason why Disney needs to rehire James Gunn: because if they don’t, Cernovich and his fascist friends will have succeeded in their attempt to bring down a “Hollywood liberal” and keep going.
Let me explain: Mike Cernovich is a lawyer. Wait, let me rephrase: Mike Cernovich is a terrible lawyer and a figure in the alt-right responsible for disseminating fake news and conspiracy theories. Remember Pizzagate? Yeah, that was him, he promoted that conspiracy theory big time. And he’s the one who targeted James Gunn — not because he thinks those tweets are bad, no, Cernovich himself has tweeted far worse:
No, the reason Cernovich targeted James Gunn was because Gunn was a big anti-Trump critic and used Twitter a lot to criticize and make fun of the President. And so Cernovich did the same thing he did to Sam Seder of MSNBC: he combed through his Twitter history for tasteless jokes and made them seem like they were real and not jokes.
(Side note: Sam Seder was eventually rehired by MSNBC when they realized that they had made a mistake. Something Disney definitely should do.)
Take, for instance, this tweet Mike Cernovich “found”:
Notice how Cernovich tells people “do not look for the link” and “do not click it.” Even if you were stupid enough to think that James Gunn was literally posting links to actual child pornography on Twitter (and getting away with it for eight years), why would he need to clarify that? Because if you actually found the link, it would give you this:
It’s a video of a concert where a choir of girls sing “I Touch Myself” by the Divinyls.
Ashley Lynch says it better than I ever could:
And guess what? Disney fell for it. There is no way that Disney didn’t know about Gunn’s past jokes — in fact, previous bad jokes had already been brought up six years ago and he apologized for them then, too. And yet, because Cernovich was able to recontextualize the tweets — for him, as “proof” that Gunn was a “Hollywood pedo” — and give people something to be outraged about, Disney fired him.
And because Disney fired him, this has given Cernovich and his buddies exactly the impetus they needed to go after more outspoken critics of Trump. Starting with Michael Ian Black and Patton Oswalt.
So that’s why Disney needs to rehire James Gunn.