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Disney fires 'Guardians' director James Gunn after tweets about rape, pedophilia unearthed

The firing comes a day after the conservative website The Daily Caller dug up old tweets from Gunn's feed.
Credit: Christopher Polk/Getty Images
James Gunn attends the premiere of Disney And Marvel's "Ant-Man And The Wasp" on June 25, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

Disney Studios cut ties with "Guardians of the Galaxy" director James Gunn on Friday, shortly after Gunn took responsibility for old, offensive tweets that joked about topics including rape and pedophilia.

"The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him," said Disney chairman Alan Horn in a statement obtained by USA TODAY.

USA TODAY has reached out to a representative for Gunn.

The firing occurred one day after conservative website The Daily Caller dug up old tweets from the filmmaker's feed. Gunn is openly liberal and a known critic of President Trump.

According to Fox News, one of the now-deleted tweets said, “I like when little boys touch me in my silly place.”

Another tweet reportedly read: “The best thing about being raped is when you’re done being raped and it’s like ‘whew this feels great, not being raped!' "

Fox News said such jokes, which were posted from 2008-2011, included topics spanning 9/11, AIDS and the Holocaust.

Gunn apologized profusely late Thursday night on Twitter. "Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling 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."

He added: "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. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over."

But the apology and his successful track record at Disney weren't enough. Horn fired Gunn soon after.

2014's "Guardians of the Galaxy" raked in over $773 million worldwide. The wry, space-set superhero follow-up, "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2," made over $863 million worldwide.

"Guardians Vol. 3" was supposed to begin filming in January 2019, with Gunn set to direct and write. "It will conclude the story of this iteration of the "Guardians of the Galaxy," and help catapult both old and new Marvel characters into the next 10 years and beyond," Gunn wrote last year.

Earlier this week, Gunn teased a possible appearance at Comic-Con Friday night during Sony's presentation. "Hall H Friday 6:15pm," he wrote cryptically.

USA TODAY has reached out to Sony for clarification if the director will still be in attendance.

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