OPINION: The Hypocrisy of the Firing and Rehiring of James Gunn and Chuck Wendig

It’s been big news recently, that Disney-Marvel have reinstated James Gunn as director of Guardians of the Galaxy 3.

For those of you who don’t know: James Gunn was fired because some trolls on the internet dug up 10+-year-old jokes about pedophilia, which James Gunn had apologized for, but didn’t delete, and then Disney-Marvel fired him for not upholding their family-friendly values.

Anyway, he’s been hired back. In all honesty, I’m not surprised. It was a controversial firing in the first place. The actors petitioned to bring him back, Dave Bautista went on record saying that he would not reprise his role as Drax if Gunn wasn’t hired back. Other directors were approached to helm Guardians 3, and rumours include Taika Waititi in that list, and they all refused. It seems that no one wanted to touch that mess with a 10-foot pole.

(And I’m over here just longing for my proper Edgar Wright Ant-Man film, but that’s a whole other can of worms.)

I’m not excusing the behaviour, and the jokes were definitely in poor taste. I do think that there is room for forgiveness and growth and James Gunn seems to have grown up quite a bit and has become a better person overall.

And this brings me to my point: the hypocrisy of it all.

Another firing has happened recently in the Disney-Marvel camp. It is much less high-profile. Chuck Wendig, an author, was fired from writing Darth Vader because of his “politics.” Chuck Wendig is an outspoken ally and uses more creative swear words with a frequency that rivals Samuel L. Jackson – who I may point out is still employed with Disney-Marvel. Again, internet trolls have been up in arms over Chuck’s inclusion of diversity – including the non-binary pronouns xer/xem in his Aftermath trilogy – and over his active allyship of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. They have attacked him, slandered him, review bombed his books and brought his colourful language usage on his twitter and website to Disney’s attention.

He was fired from his upcoming Darth Vader comics run “due to his politics.” There was no major outcry from fans and supporters of Chuck Wendig, there wasn’t a refusal to pick up Darth Vader. It was a victory celebrated by the trolls that got the result they wanted and otherwise went unnoticed by the fan community at large.

The hypocrisy apparent in this double-standard is astounding. One was fired and rehired after making incredibly offensive jokes, the other was fired and still remains unemployed for suggesting that diversity and inclusivity is a good thing, suggesting that Nazis deserve to be punched, and dropping f-bombs. In fact, many of his politics reflect ones that Samuel L. Jackson has recently espoused, but no one is going to argue that Sam Jackson apologize for his colorful language or tone. No one is going to fire Sam Jackson over his politics.

The fact that anyone caved in to, for lack of a better word, peer pressure, from trolls on the internet is upsetting. The idea that a hate mob can influence companies to the point of firing anyone is abhorrent.

Yes, I agree that people should be held accountable for their actions, but why is it only the people who are doing their best to be inclusive and diverse who get fired and not reinstated when that hate mob comes for them?

I can see whose money Disney-Marvel wants. It’s evidently not mine.

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Kai Kiriyama

Kai Kiriyama

Senior Editor
A writer, editor and Twitch gamer from Canada, Kai is often cold and usually under-caffeinated. You can find her books on all ebook retailers, including Amazon.
Kai Kiriyama

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A writer, editor and Twitch gamer from Canada, Kai is often cold and usually under-caffeinated. You can find her books on all ebook retailers, including Amazon.

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