People getting fired for things said 20 years ago.
Disney has fired writer-director James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after a right-wing media personality resurfaced a series of offensive tweets Gunn made, in many cases from 2009 and 2010. “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values,” Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, “and we have severed our business relationship with him.”
As noted by Polygon, conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich — perhaps best known as one of the most active promoters of the fake “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory — began resurfacing some of Gunn’s old tweets, some going back nearly a decade. In the tweets, Gunn makes a number of jokes about pedophilia and molestation. In Pizzagate, right-wing media personalities like Cernovich pushed the idea that Hillary Clinton and other members of Democratic leadership were running a child-molestation ring out of a pizzeria in Washington, DC. They promoted the absurd theory so fiercely that eventually a man who bought into Cernovich’s rhetoric opened fire in the restaurant with an assault rifle.
Cernovich also has a history of using old Twitter posts to target outspoken progressive voices. In 2017, he launched a similar smear campaign against MSNBC contributor Sam Seder over a sarcastic tweet Seder had posted regarding Roman Polanski back in 2009. MSNBC initially responded by cutting ties with Seder, though two days later, it reversed course. Gunn, it should be noted, has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump and the GOP in general, making him a ripe target for someone like Cernovich to attempt to silence.