5 Details About The 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Director James Gunn Who Was Fired For Joking About Pedophilia, Including The Actress He Was Married To

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Why Was James Gunn Fired? New Details James Gunn Petition For Guardians Of The Galaxy After Fired For Old Tweets

Writer and director James Gunn is the latest victim of the Hollywood firing ax.

Gunn is both the writer and director of the highly successful Marvel superhero franchise Guardians of the Galaxy. He was recently fired by parent company Disney over controversial tweets the director had previously posted.

The tweets, which have since been deleted, consisted of jokes referencing pedophilia-related topics.

His old tweets, which date back to 2010 and 2011, were unearthed by conservative figures Jack Posobiec and Mike Cernovich. In the first post, Cernovich shares a tweet of Gunn's in which the director makes a joke regarding a trending hashtag game on the social media site. 

Posobiec also chimed in by approaching Disney directly on Twitter and shared this previous tweet by James Gunn.

"Hi @Disney," Posobiec wrote, "Why did your employee @JamesGunn delete this tweet about a pedophile tree?"

James Gunn has frequently challenged conservative pundits and the Trump administration on his Twitter account. It seems that this time, however, the politically-charged battle had now come for the director's career. 

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Disney, which owns the rights to Guardians of the Galaxy, is the most famous kid-friendly entertainment company in the world, which is likely a reason why they decided to abruptly let go of James as director of the third installment of the Guardians franchise. 

Over Twitter, James issued his own statement regarding the old tweets and the subsequent fallout. 

"Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor," Gunn wrote. 

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"It’s not to say I’m better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger," he continued. "My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over. In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies."

"For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out. I know this is a weird statement to make, and seems obvious, but, still, here I am, saying it. Anyway, that’s the completely honest truth: I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore. I don’t blame my past self for this, but I like myself more and feel like a more full human being and creator today. Love you to you all."

Many celebrities, including Guardians of the Galaxy cast members, have come out in defense of James Gunn over social media. 

Actress Selma Blair shared a petition to get James re-hired and urged the importance of allowing room for growth and owning up to previous mistakes. According to CNN, over 200,000 people have already signed the petition. 

Guardians actor Dave Bautista also shared impassioned tweets in defense of the director.

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"What will you do when the #cybernazis attack you?" He wrote. "Who will stand by you? Who will cowardly distance themselves from you? Who will punish you for horrible JOKES in the past instead of defending you for INSPIRING millions? MILLIONS!!!"

"I will have more to say but for right now all I will say is this..@JamesGunn is one of the most loving, caring, good natured people I have ever met. He’s gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He’s made mistakes. We all have. Im NOT ok with what’s happening to him."

Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana shared their thoughts as well, with Pratt posting a poignant Bible quote that speaks volumes.

Perhaps actor Patton Oswalt, however, had the best defense of James Gunn by calling out the hypocrisy of one of the men who contributed to Gunn's firing.

The actor shared an old tweet by Mike Cernovich, who was one of the men that shared James Gunn's old tweets, in which Cernovich argues that date rape "does not exist."

As we continue to find out whether or not James Gunn will be re-hired for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, here are some details about the writer and director, including his previous marriage and diverse creative background. 

1. He was married to Pam from The Office.

James Gunn was married to actress Jenna Fischer A.K.A. Pam from The Office from 2000 to 2008.

Both Jenna and James are from Missouri, and it was James' brother Sean, who was friends with Jenna, that introduced the pair shortly after she had moved out to Los Angeles after college. The couple worked together as well, with James directing Jenna in the 2006 film Slither.

The actress has not yet commented on her ex's firing from Guardians of the Galaxy.

2. His current girlfriend is actress Jennifer Holland.

James Gunn has been in a relationship with his girlfriend, actress Jennifer Holland, since 2015.

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In addition to television roles in shows like American Horror Story and Days of our Lives, she was also in the film American Pie Presents: The Book of Love.

Jennifer has come out in defense of her boyfriend on social media, frequently retweeting support from the cast of the Guardians of the Galaxy, including James' brother Sean. Her Instagram account, which is now private, shares a link to the petition to rehire James. 

3. He once tried to make it as a musician.

Long before his work as a Hollywood screenwriter and director, James Gunn had ambitions in the world of rock music during his late teens and early twenties.

However, due to a lack of financial success in music, Gunn ultimately went back to college and changed his focus towards writing. For #oldheadshotday on Instagram, the writer/director shared this throwback photo of him with his former band, The Pods. 

4. He has a creative writing background.

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After receiving his undergrad degree in Missouri, James went on to get a master's degree in creative writing from Columbia University in New York City. In addition to screenwriting, he's written several novels.

The Toy Collector was his first, and he also co-wrote All I Need to Know about Filmmaking I Learned from the Toxic Avenger. During his younger years, he also worked as a writer and illustrator for comic strips. 

5. All of his brothers are in the entertainment industry too.

 

It goes without saying that I love and support my brother James and I’m quite proud of how kind, generous, and compassionate he is with all the people in his life. Since he was a kid, it was clear he had a desire (maybe destiny) to be an artist, tell stories, find his voice through comics, films, his band. The struggle to find that voice was sometimes clunky, misguided, or downright stupid, and sometimes wonderful, moving, and hilarious. Since devoting his entire life to the Guardians movies and MCU six years ago, I’ve seen him channel that voice into his work and seen him transform from the guy who made up things to shock people. I saw firsthand as he went from worrying about “softening his edge” for a larger audience to realizing that this “edge” wasn’t as useful of a tool as he thought it was. That his gift for storytelling was something better. I saw that he was more open-hearted than the guy who thought he needed to get a rise out of people by making nasty or offensive jokes (or whatever you choose to call them—I don’t think his bluer material was ever his funniest and neither does Mom). And the best part is, this change in my brother was reflected in the change that the Guardians go through. I’ve heard my brother say many times that when Quill rallies the team with “this is our chance to give a shit”—to care—that it’s the pep talk he himself needed to hear. It’s part of what made working on the Guardians movies such a rewarding experience for the cast. We managed to find ourselves involved in a big-budget superhero movie that was, at its core, deeply personal. That’s a gift. And that’s why it’s good. This isn’t new information, by the way. It’s all stuff that James has explained many times in interviews, in more detail and more eloquently. It’s not some new spin. It’s always been part of this story. So I guess my hope is that fans continue to watch and appreciate the Guardians movies, not despite the fact that the filmmaker used to be kind of a jackass, but because of it. They are, after all, movies about discovering your best self. Working on those movies made my brother a better person, and they made me one too. I’ll always be proud of that. Peace.

A post shared by Sean Gunn (@thejudgegunn) on Jul 21, 2018 at 3:47pm PDT

Hollywood dreams seem to run in the Gunn family. James has four brothers: Patrick, Brian, Matt, and Sean.

James may be the most famous of his brothers, but they are also busy in the entertainment industry themselves. Patrick is a senior VP at Artisan Entertainment, Brian is a screenwriter, Matt is a screenwriter and actor, and Sean is an actor.

Additionally, their cousin Mark collaborates with Brian on screenwriting jobs. Sean has frequently worked on his brother James' films, including the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, and Sean has been one of the most vocal supporters of his brother after the director's abrupt firing.

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Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer and Michigan native. When she's not writing, Jill enjoys Zumba class, travel, and referencing classic Seinfeld episodes.