James Gunn made some dumb tweets six to 10 years ago. He thought his jokes about rape and paedophilia were provocative. Clearly, they were, because they have provoked Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn to issue a statement: “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible…. [They are] inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.”
Disney’s sentiment seems sincere, but the actual words are problematic. If we start going back through Disney movies in the past, how much blatant sexism, racism and homophobia will we find? Disney would rightfully claim that, though those offenses may have occurred, the company has evolved since then. Which is the same claim Gunn has made regarding his tweets: “I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies.” Why does Disney deserve our admiration for changing, but Gunn gets our scorn?