- 07 Aug 18
The recent hit-job on director James Gunn highlighted the alt-right's complete lack of scruples.
As everyone now knows, director James Gunn was fired from Guardians Of The Galaxy after some old tweets of his were dug up, including some pretty abhorrent 'jokes' on topics like rape and paedophilia. The tweets are pretty indefensible, as Gunn himself admitted when he apologised for them in 2012. Following the latest furore, he has again apologised.
"My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative," he said. "I have regretted them for many years since - not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don't reflect the person I am today or have been for some time. To everyone inside my industry and beyond, I again offer my deepest apologies."
Bearing in mind that Gunn originally apologised before he was making high-profile films for the family-friendly Disney corporation, and was indeed best known for his dark satire Super and sci-fi black comedy Slither, his contrition seems far less self-serving than more recent apologies from Hollywood stars. Again, this doesn't excuse his foul jokes, but does indicate a genuine sense of growth and an attempt to take accountability.
'Good grace' and 'accountability', though, are not terms that apply to his detractors. The man who dug up and publicised Gunn's tweets this month was Mike Cernovich, a right-wing conspiracy theorist who was a key player in 'Pizzagate', the false conspiracy theory that alleged Hillary Clinton and her former campaign chair ran a child sex ring at the basement of a pizzeria. Cernovich has also declared that date rape "does not exist", and was himself charged with rape in 2003. He supported Donald Trump even after the infamous tape where Trump was recorded bragging about sexually assaulting women. Cernovich also endorsed Roy Moore, a politician in Alabama who has been accused of sexually assaulting a minor.
Meanwhile, actress Roseanne Barr = who was fired from her ABC sitcom earlier this year after sending a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett - also weighed in on the issue. In the midst of the Gunn controversy, Barr tweeted that she was "disgusted to read all of the support for James Gunn's pedophile jokes - as the same people supported blacklisting me for a joke they didn't even understand."
Even beyond the lack of logic at play here, Barr is drawing a false equivalency. Gunn's tweets were made years ago, and he has apologised repeatedly, and accepted that Disney is a corporation with every right to fire him. She, however, wrote her racist tweet targeting a specific individual mere months ago and failed to take accountability for her actions. The actress even bizarrely attempted to blame her outburst on having taken Ambien that night; a claim to which the makers of Ambien, Sanofi, retorted beautifully, tweeting, "While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication."
The truth is that the right wing commentators have failed in their mission to damage the image of left-wing Hollywood. The American left is demonstrating that they have values which they're willing to to back up - even when it involves punishing one of their own.
When are right-wing bigots and misogynists going to stop looking across the aisle and start looking in the mirror?