Industry insiders were reportedly shocked about Disney’s sudden firing of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn two weeks ago, in response to an orchestrated outcry over tasteless jokes he’d made on Twitter years earlier. But the most surprising thing was how quickly the entire story moved. The right-wing troll attacks on Gunn, who was in the process of pre-production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, peaked late on Thursday the 19th; by mid-Friday the 20th, Disney had removed him, describing the tweets as “indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values.” At San Diego Comic-Con, where Gunn’s scheduled appearance to promote a horror movie he produced for Sony was pulled at the last minute, the firing prompted executives to gossip about whether Disney had overreacted. (The consensus seemed to be yes.) They repeatedly came back to the same question: What is actually going on here? Over the past year or so, the entertainment industry has become used to watching celebrities and other public figures being forced from their positions in large part due to pressure from social media. The escalation grew parallel to the #MeToo movement — initially, actors like Jeffrey Tambor and Kevin Spacey were forced to quit, fired from existing projects, or replaced during reshoots. Then, completed projects were shelved amid sexual abuse allegations, prompting much hand-wringing about ruined careers. All of this was primarily driven by social media discussion around the perpetrators’ alleged actions, spreading the word far and wide and making it impossible to avoid… [Read full story]
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