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In a vacuum, the tweets that got James Gunn fired from the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie were jokes in bad taste about explicitly taboo subjects (like pedophilia) which, at the time, were intended to shock and provoke a comparatively limited number of folks. At the time, Gunn was a self-styled “damaged” rebel within the Troma system, whose prior films (Slither and the deeply cynical superhero satire-as-religious allegory Super) were intended for adult viewers with adult sensibilities. Yet, as we should know by now, social media is a bullhorn. If you want your private jokes to stay private, don’t put them on Facebook or Twitter no matter how few followers you have at that moment.
That they would come to the surface nearly a decade later, no matter the messenger or the motivation behind their unearthing, put Walt Disney in a tricky spot. Maybe the Mouse House was motivated by fears of continuing conservative media attacks, a threat to their purchase of Fox or brand damage. Especially since everyone is now holding their breath waiting for you-know-who to chime in on a late night (or early morning) Twitter rant as soon as it becomes part of a Fox and Friends segment. Maybe Bob Iger, Alan Horn and friends were genuinely offended to the point of terminating their working relationship with one of the key figures in their biggest live-action franchise.