Director James Gunn has been fired from the upcoming movie sequel "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" after old tweets containing offensive jokes about pedophilia and rape were unearthed by far-right activists.
Disney confirmed Gunn's firing in a statement Friday.
“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,” Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn told Variety.
Gunn also said, "I understand and accept the business decisions taken today."
“My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative,” Gunn said in a statement, according to Buzzfeed. “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.”
Gunn's firing occurred just hours after messages from pundits Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec, — who are known for pushing conspiracy theories, including about a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer — went viral with images of old tweets from Gunn joking about pedophilia and other sexual crimes.
"Why did your employee @JamesGunn delete this tweet about a pedophile tree?" Posobiec asked Disney, attaching an image of a 2011 tweet from Gunn joking about the ending to "The Giving Tree."
Gunn apologized for the tweets in a Thursday night Twitter thread and shuttered his personal website, according to Yahoo News, but was fired on Friday.
"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," Gunn tweeted.
"[T]hat’s the completely honest truth: I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore," he added. "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."
1. 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.— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 20, 2018
-Updated 5:55 p.m.