There’s been no word yet what happens to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 without James Gunn, who was fired last Friday after the rediscovery of old, offensive tweets, or who could possibly replace him. But there’s at least one online petition requesting that Disney reconsider their position, and it’s already gaining steam. The “Re-Hire James Gunn” page has over 213,000 signatures as of this writing. (Scratch that; 214,000.)

The petitioner argues that while Gunn’s tweets were bad, they were very old, and Gunn had already apologized for them on numerous occasions:

I agree on the point that if people say a bunch of stupid s— while working for a studio, the studio has full right to fire him over the possible controversy. This situation is very different though as he made these jokes years before he was working for Disney and also the fact that they were jokes. I agree with most, including Gunn himself that the jokes were shitty and un-funny but they were still jokes, it wasn't an opinion or a statement, it was just a bad attempt at being funny.

It’s worth asking what’s changed in the near-decade since Gunn wrote most of the tasteless tweets. (And they are pretty gross all around.) It’s not as if Gunn came from total obscurity when he was chosen by Disney to make the first Guardians. He got his start working for Troma, and that company is one of the country’s leading providers of tasteless schlock. (I say that as someone who interned there as a college student, so I know what I’m talking about.) If it was okay to hire Gunn despite that, what happened in the interim other than social media becoming a hell pit that we cannot escape from?

Will the petition work? Who knows. Folks fired over social media kerfuffles have gotten their jobs back in a few instances. But Disney is a very conservative company; they abhor controversy. They don’t want anything to even have the hint of impropriety for their family audience. And now Gunn has more than a hint in some circles.

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