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Stark Raving Fan – Hey Disney, Don’t Treat James Gunn Like Roseanne Barr!

“Stark Raving Fan” is a column about one man’s love for all things involving popular culture – television, movies, and all facets of pop culture from here to there. Of course, it’s not the kind of love that unites a group of people like a bunch of hippies. More like the kind of love someone has when they’ve blown a gasket and have something to say. After all, aren’t we all just driven mad by fanaticism sometimes?

Let me be most especially clear for those of you who are hard of both reading and hearing. Ahem. Disney isn’t just making a big mistake in trying to erase James Gunn from their books. The past is written, the books are closed, his two entries into the Marvel Cinematic Universe are game-changers that have paved the way for future films. Actually, mistake isn’t the word. No. Disney is seriously out of their damn minds by trying to make James Gunn totally disappear, all over comments he made when he was breaking free of his Troma shell years ago.

At this point in this crazy three-week spiral, I doubt most people need any sort of refresher course to catch up. I can, however, transcribe into Layman’s terms so you can easily connect the dots and follow along. See, many years ago, James Gunn wasn’t well known. In fact he was a huge nobody, a film lover who was working on schlock films for Troma. He was provocative in thought, unable to keep his yap shut, and acted as anyone in their 20’s would. He said and wrote what he was thinking, not worried if anyone would take offense to his musings. He found early success with Scooby Doo and Dawn of the Dead but really took off in 2006 with Slither. Around that time was when Twitter was introduced to the world, then just a 140-character message board to post your reflections about life – no matter how perverse the message. Like anyone else who didn’t toe the PC line, Gunn wrote tweets that were sharp-witted and dripping with sarcasm. His ramblings were in the same vein as any other popular comedian at the time.

Cue 2018. Everyone’s quite sensitive about everything these days, literally everything. (I wouldn’t point any fingers but yeah…hello, Mister President.) Anything you say or write can and absolutely will be used against you for the entire world to see. Case in point? James Gunn, an outspoken Trump critic who has utilized his Twitter account to belittle the President and those aligned with SCROTUS. Unfortunately, within our nation lies a group of conservatives who are tired of the constant jabs from those such as James Gunn, Stephen Colbert, and countless others. Rather than allow the world to continue revolving on its axis, those anti-free speech folk instead dove headfirst into Gunn’s Twitter feed. Going back a whole decade this group pulled tweets from Gunn that made light of rape, pedophilia, and sexual activities. Now, I could be wrong, but I’m pretty positive everyone at least once has made a joke in poor taste about those subjects but I digress.

Alan Horn, CEO of Walt Disney Studios, didn’t even let the matter simmer to a slow boil. Horn pounced quickly, handing Gunn a parachute, and booted him out of the plane that was barely airborne. Rather than being able to defend his words in a public forum, Gunn was told to vamoose and not return to Marvel. He was fired from directing Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. His script is in jeopardy of being chucked into the trash, though such a drastic move would derail Marvel’s narrative plans for potentially the next decade.

Here’s something you may not know, if you’re drinking the Kool-Aid – James Gunn isn’t Roseanne nor Alex Jones. And far removed from both of those jabbering nitwits too.

Roseanne Barr’s mouth is more puzzling than anything that Gunn ever wrote. She had the number one new network sitcom of the 2017-2018 season with the revival of Roseanne, yet all she needed was a single tweet to spiral her down into the gutter. Again. Call it mental illness (Tom Arnold would), call it lacking class, but her remarks over the last two decades have been downright stupefying. No, I won’t indulge some of what she’s uttered, even the tweet that cost her job. Sure, people aren’t taking any guff anymore from those who have diarrhea of the mouth. Roseanne’s out – and so is Alex Jones, except for Twitter. Yeah, the man goes on a toxic racist rant and loses his social media platforms except for Twitter and Google. Hey, trolls? Why not go dig up some dirt on those who’re really causing the trouble, huh? Leave those actually offering entertainment the hell alone.

You know, the problem for anyone who likes to stir the pot these days is the level of scrutiny levied onto such individuals. Yes, I’ve perused Gunn’s tweets and they’re about as shocking as any of Dane Cook’s stand-up routines. For someone who doesn’t quite understand the nature of the humor, yes, there’s a huge shock value into the words. OhmyGod, did he just make a swipe at rape? Grow up. This toxicity on social media is going too far, too fast. There’s a large difference between Roseanne and James Gunn – one is very far in the past, the other still goes on YouTube on epic rants to show how mentally unstable she’s become. We live in an era where people can’t discern what news is a tall tale and what is written with truth. News articles are so slanted anymore trying to find real news as as difficult as finding a good Philly cheese steak.

Hey, Alan Horn? You can’t deny the hand that fed you. Feige hired Gunn thinking he’d deliver Little Caesar’s but instead dropped a monster Neapolitan pie on your laps. Gunn made the obscure Guardians of the Galaxy a rich, lucrative property. Clothing, action figures, a cartoon,home video sales, social media awareness, you name it, he freakin’ delivered everything you never dreamed of! And your answer, to appease a bunch of low-level Trumpflakes, is to fire him without a sit-down meeting first? Did you not sit down and enjoy Avengers: Infinity War? Because James Gunn is personally responsible for a bulk of that film. The Russo Brothers consulted with Gunn over the Guardians scenes. Gunn’s trademark snark is written into the script, those scenes standout moments in Infinity War. Last I recall, the third Avengers movie grossed over $2 billion worldwide. What would your coffers look like without that runaway juggernaut of a success, hmm?

Virutally everyone has come out in support of James Gunn. The entire cast and crew of both Guardians of the Galaxy films are openly backing their writer/director. Kurt Russell has stood firm in his support of the director, telling the press that Gunn has a “wonderful heart and a wonderful mind.” Dave Bautista is a bit more, shall we say, pointed. Nothing’s over his head, much unlike his beloved Drax. He’s called the re-emergence of the tweets “nauseating” and has berated the House of Mouse for throwing Gunn to the wolves. Moreover Bautista has threatened to quit the forthcoming production if Gunn’s script isn’t even used. Bautista also isn’t the only actor from the popular franchise to rebel either. Despite being bound by contracts the main stars have said they’ll still walk away. For a franchise that’s already grossed $1.6 billion dollars worldwide, I’m fairly certain the cast would eat penalties to maintain loyalty to the visionary guiding Guardians – and actually most of Phase 4 before his subsequent termination by Horn.

Gunn will survive to create films another day. See, James Gunn’s stock went up following his termination from Disney. Way up. Various producers and movie studios want his genius added to their rosters. Marvel, caught in the crossfire between Gunn and Disney as they work to resolve the situation, still wants Gunn in their master plans. This is the public relations nightmare that no one ever wants on their hands. There was an easy way to react to this news. Review the tweets, see that the tweets are obviously a decade old, sit down with Gunn over lunch, move on. This is in the past, the stinkin’ past! All because people in our wacky off-kilter country got wet in their diapers by Gunn speaking his mind about POTUS. Alt-right news sites like Breitbart are far from done trying to ruin Gunn’s character too. Case in point? The latest news from over the weekend comes supported by Breitbart and shows photos of James Gunn dressed as a priest at a supposed pedophile party. Gunn has said in the past that he went to a school where priests were in employ who had molested children. Gasp, Gunn dressed as a priest? Say it ain’t so!

Ready to take off the blinders? Alright. He’s clearly at a Halloween party. And he’s hugging women, clearly not children, dressed in schoolgirl outfits. A HALLOWEEN PARTY! No, I won’t share the photo because whoever believes that clearly needs to be dragged back down to Earth and smacked senselessly.

This all is only going to get worse. Groups like QAnon, who think that anyone in Hollywood that doesn’t align conservatively is involved with touching children (including Tom Hanks and Steve Spielberg no less), are only getting louder. Between this and #MeToo, the environment in which celebrities live is growing more volatile. Was Gunn in the right for posting those tweets? Who knows. That was ten years ago. This is 2018. He’s a changed man and certainly past his adolescent thinking. Feige will fight as long as necessary on this topic, which ain’t going away. Disney’s best interest is actually investigate the claims before chucking Gunn out like garbage. The man’s far from that and deserves to be treated better than this. What’s it going to take for Alan Horn to snap out of it? Welcome to the Catch-22, old man. Make the right call before disaster truly strikes – and the fans answer back not in kind.