Not long ago James Gunn, director of the Guardians of the Galaxy series, was fired by Disney after a blogger exposed tweets that Gunn made in the last 10 years. The resulting backlash from fans and cast has led to speculations of his (unlikely) rehiring.
Initially, I was upset. Not for what the man tweeted (though they were sad attempts at humour, I think), but for the fact that a movie I was very much looking forward to was not going to have it’s mastermind anymore. I soon learned that he was actually a significant part of the creative direction, alongside Kevin Feige, as to the next 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Cue the nerdiest tears I have ever cried.
I’m a big Marvel fan, so that was a huge disappointment. I was disappointed not only by the potential impact this could have on my beloved movie franchise, but also in the fact that a man was being fired for tweets that he made years ago. And this is considering that Disney apparently knew about these tweets when they hired Gunn. It’s understandable that Disney would make the firing once there was some public heat over the tweets, but I still couldn’t help but wonder: how should we approach this? Where do we draw the line? Can internet posts I made as a joke or in a moment of flippancy really come back to haunt me? Should they? Should I be fired for it? Should I be judged eternally (figuratively or literally) on some careless words I’ve said? Even if it was a joke?
After all, even good people say dumb things or make jokes in bad taste. Furthermore, what is today’s hilarious is tomorrow’s bad taste. Or with how some people think nowadays, today’s funny is tomorrow’s racist, bigoted, etc. What’s more, there’s a lot of subjectivity when it comes to humour. Just because you happen to be offended, doesn’t mean Joe Blow next to you is. But an important question still remains: should we punish people years later for legitimate mistakes or foolish remarks they’ve made?
Words cut… so be careful
On the other hand, we can’t underestimate the power of words. The tongue is a small organ but a powerful weapon. Words cut, and can be used for great evil. And we should never be careless with them, considering the great power they have (and especially when they are spoken by those with influence). I believe God will judge us for our carelessness (Matt. 12:36).
Nonetheless, all things considered, I think we are all failures here, and in many areas of life. Therefore, I think there needs to be some caution exercised when we demand ramifications of peoples’ past.
Let’s be honest: if we held everyone up to the standard that James Gunn was being held up to, there would be few of us left to direct Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3. I’ve sure made some careless Facebook posts in the past, and while some consider me a pretty stand up guy relatively speaking, Disney would have probably fired me too.
And whether or not you’ve made social media posts that could get you fired, consider your own thought life or the things you’ve said behind closed doors. Are you so innocent? I think you’d admit with me that you aren’t.
We’re just not that great as a species. We all need the forgiveness and grace of others.
Grace understands that we’re all ill-deserved of the goodness of this life and the privileges it offers us. Like directing a dope movie series.
Our social media age is full of those who eviscerate everyone for anything that smells immoral (note: immoral by their specifications). Such people perhaps do not understand grace. They do not understand what it means to be human, and treat anyone even with a few immoral tweets like a leper to be cast out (another note: that wasn’t necessarily the goal of the blogger who highlighted Gunn’s old tweets).
So let’s try and find some balance. Let’s hold people to high standards, especially those who are role models, for sure. But let’s show them the same grace we’d expect ourselves to be shown. Let’s treat each other like humans.
I respected Disney’s decision to fire James Gunn, as disappointed as the nerd in me was. I’m still kinda holding on to hope that they’ll bring him back. What Gunn said was not OK, but I hope we can take steps toward a healthier, grace-based approach to these sorts of things.
What do you think?