Comedian and director Bobcat Goldthwait is the latest Hollywood figure to weigh in on Disney’s decision to fire writer/director James Gunn from the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3. That decision came after a targeted campaign led by “alt-right” Twitter users including Jack Posobiec and Mike Cernovich unearthed inappropriate “comedic” tweets Gunn wrote between 2008 and 2012. Given that Cernovich himself is a rape defender (and a peddler of the Pizzagate conspiracy), it seems likely that his desire to tear down Gunn came mostly in response to Gunn’s progressive, anti-Trump politics rather than a genuine ethical concern. But, regardless, there’s been a split in responses to the whole event.
Most (sensible) people seem to agree that Disney giving into a targeted smear campaign led by the “alt-right” is a troubling precedent. However, the split comes between those who think Gunn’s tweets (which included jokes about rape, pedophilia, and derogatory statements about transgender women) justify his firing, and those who feel Disney is being hypocritical by firing Gunn despite a.) having known about his transgressive past before hiring him, and b.) still working with much more controversial figures.
For his part, Goldthwait is definitely in that latter camp (along with a whole lot of other Hollywood figures). Goldthwait posted a photo on Instagram of himself and Gunn getting a fish pedicure, and wrote an open letter to Disney in the caption.
After calling Gunn “a loyal friend, super talented, passionate and kind,” Goldthwait requests that Disney not feature his own voiceover work in an upcoming theme park attraction (Goldthwait voiced a character in Disney’s animated Hercules film). Goldthwait explains that, like Gunn, he’s made offensive jokes in the past and writes to Disney, “I’d hate to make you guys look bad seeing that I’m openly critical of the president and his administration, and you seem to be taking your lead from some of his radical fringe supporters.”
Goldthwait then calls out Disney’s hypocrisy in who the company deems appropriate to work with. First up, he references the “whacky past tweets” of fellow Hercules voice actor James Woods—a staunch conservative who has pushed right-wing conspiracy theories and frequently made racist remarks on Twitter. Even more damningly, Goldthwait asks whether Disney is still making money off of its 1995 movie Powder. That film was written and directed by Victor Salva—seven years after Salva was convicted of sexual misconduct relating to sexual abuse of a 12-year-old actor as well as filming said abuse for pornographic purposes. Salva was sentenced to three years in prison, served 15 months, and completed his parole in 1992. After that he went on to make not only Powder, but also the 2001 horror film Jeepers Creepers. Salva’s most recent project was 2017’s Jeepers Creepers 3.
In terms of Gunn, it can be a little difficult to verify the authenticity of individual offensive tweets, given that they’ve now been deleted from his timeline (and may have already been deleted before this campaign used internet archives to dig them up). However, this recent Comic Book Resources article about a 2012 controversy over Gunn’s 2011 blog post entitled “The 50 Superheroes You Most Want To Have Sex With” gives a sense of their tone.
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