Groot, Guardians of the Galaxy

Disney reinstating James Gunn as the writer-director of Guardians of the Galaxy 3 ignited a controversy reaching beyond the tarnishing of Disney’s brand. It sparks a question, to which the answer is a social-political barometer. Do we really want to trade redemption for social assassination? 

The Backstory

Last year James Gunn was fired by Disney over pedophilia and rape-laced Tweets that were nothing short of abhorrent. Certainly, something that the family brand, as well as any decent person, should run away from screaming. It goes without saying that Gunn’s statements were indefensible and Disney was right to part ways first, and ask questions later. All the while Guardians of the Galaxy 3 hung in the balance.

Political retribution over Gunn’s criticism of Trump was cited as motivation for the unearthing of the decade-old tweets. According to The Daily Caller, it was more about political banter than revenge. Nevertheless, this is where we landed.

Were they right to allow him back?

The answer shouldn’t be easy. Especially, for those of us who consider ourselves Christian Conservatives or just plain decent human beings.

My friend Megan Fox, over at PJ Media writes:

“There are too many red flags where Gunn is concerned…This is not a person that any parent would leave alone with their child, so why would we want him making movies for them? And why doesn’t Disney see that they are going to damage their carefully crafted brand forever with this decision?”

There are precious few people I would leave alone with my child. While I understand her reaction and parental decisions, the bigger picture needs a closer look.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

In the heat of the controversy, Chris Pratt tweeted,

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters. Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.’ JAMES 1:19.

Also, the cast offered an official letter of support and pleaded that we “…stop weaponizing mob mentality.” James Gunn’s apology clearly stated his regret, responsibility, and “deepest apologies.”

What seems to confuse us is why would anyone stand behind a man that displays such a vile dark side?

Maybe it’s because it’s not the man they know.

While it’s easy to be cynical about Hollywood, it’s better to remember it is comprised of mere humans. In a series of tweets, Sean Gunn reveals the evolution of his brother. From a man who used shocking statements to gain an audience, into a man who found his voice and meaning in his work.

“I ain’t done nothing right my whole life rat. You gotta give me this.” Yondu

When you stop to look closely at the storylines and character arcs of the Guardians, it gives credibility to their defense of him. Gunn’s work in the Guardians, his brother explains, is deeply personal.

The common thread throughout the series is finding their redemption through people. A bunch of “A-holes” with newly found “reasons to give-a-sh*t.” They learn to care about something more than themselves.

Take, for example, Yondu’s conversation with Rocket,

I know you steal batteries you don’t need and you push away anyone who’s willing to put up with you ’cause just a little bit of love reminds you of how big and empty that hole inside you actually is…I know them scientists what made you, never gave a rat’s ass about you!… Just like my own damn parents who sold me, their own little baby, into slavery. I know who you are, boy. Because you’re me!”

Does any of this change what the man wrote?

Nope.

But isn’t it better to judge someone by their actions today, rather than their words years ago?

 

Originally published March 19, 2019, at Liberty Island 

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