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Director Canceled, Then Uncanceled By Disney Defends Cancel Culture: ‘It’s Free Speech’
James Gunn
Christopher Polk/Getty Images

On Saturday, Hollywood director James Gunn, who was dismissed by Disney after old social media posts of his joking about rape and child molestation surfaced in 2018 then was rehired in May 2019 to direct another “Guardians of the Galaxy” film, issued a Twitter thread in which he defended cancel culture, writing that it was “free speech.”

Gunn wrote in the thread Saturday:

Stop calling everything “cancel culture” because you’re too dim to have a nuanced opinion. People can be offended by something, or think something sucks, and that’s not “cancel culture” — it’s free speech. To all of those writing me about the times people get unfairly attacked — yes, that sucks! But that doesn’t mean every time someone is offended by something it’s “cancel culture.” Calling EVERYTHING that is a knee-jerk response that destroys your point.

I don’t think there are many people here, on the left or the right, who think Harvey Weinstein shouldn’t have been “cancelled” for what he did. Likewise, these are all nuanced conversations. I think most Latin people love Speedy Gonzalez, which is a pretty good argument that he shouldn’t be “canceled.” But Pepe le Pew, to me at least, is offensive because of the way he treats that cat.

Gunn seemingly defended Dr. Seuss Enterprises for canceling six of the author’s books:

And a book publisher deciding not to publish some books because some of the images in them are hurtful to minorities, is not cancel culture. That’s THEIR free speech at work.

Likewise, I sometimes see celebrities getting attacked on here for something minor or nonexistent & I think it’s unfair. Other times I see celebrities getting attacked for s*** that’s nearly unforgivable, or at least makes me not want to watch their movies. It’s nuanced. 

Most people know that. Most people have different thoughts & feelings about different situations. But Twitter is a place where the extremes on every conceivable side rise to the top, because those ideas are splashier.

He concluded, “And for all of you out there (I see you) saying, ‘What about people who try to cancel you?! Do they have the right to do that?!’ OF COURSE THEY DO. And I will fight for their right to do so. I may not agree with their opinions but I believe deeply in their right to free speech.”

The thread prompted some strong responses online. Breitbart’s John Nolte commented, “Cowardly fascists like Gunn can’t have it both ways. Today, as good people watch in horror while mega-corporations blacklist people and art and ideas, Gunn doesn’t have the moral courage to say this is wrong. And in defending today’s McCarthyism, he is retroactively defending the McCarthyism that poisoned Hollywood throughout the 50s. It is simply a fact that what happened in the 1950s is happening today. There’s no difference. Today’s Woke Nazis are even using the same language: safety, morality, patriotism, greater good. …”

“Name a time when the censors and witch hunters and book burners and blacklisters ever came out on the right side of history, or when their enablers like James Gunn were remembered as anything other than cowards,” Nolte continued. “There is no such time, and eventually this moral panic will pass and history will remember those who stood up to the mob, those who joined the mob, and moral cowards like James Gunn who tried to gaslight us into believing the mob is a good and noble thing.” 

Related: EXCLUSIVE POLL: Majority Of Americans Less Likely To Support Disney Over Woke Politics, Firing Of Gina Carano

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