The tweets, which he wrote years ago, were, according to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn, "indefensible" and "inconsistent with [the] studio's values."
Gunn had come under fire in recent days after his comments referencing pedophilia and molestation resurfaced on Twitter. On July 19, Gunn broke his silence and acknowledged the attention his previous tweets were getting in a series of tweets.
James Gunn Fired Over Controversial Tweets
"Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo," Gunn tweeted. "It's not to say I'm better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger."
Guardians Of The Galaxy
Before Guardians of the Galaxy, Gunn was a relatively unknown filmmaker who primarily made low-budget films such as 2006's Slither and the superhero spoof Super. It was seen as an unusual choice when he was tapped to direct the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, but the movie went on to garner critical acclaim and became a massive box office success.
So successful, in fact, that he was invited back as writer and director for the sequel, which also earned glowing reviews and was similarly a hit with moviegoers. Thus far, the franchise has grossed a total of more than $1.6 billion worldwide. A third film, which was supposed to be directed by him, is currently in the works. Disney has yet to announce Gunn's replacement.
Among the tweets that forced Disney to cut ties with Gunn were:
"I like when little boys touch me in my silly place," and "The best thing about being raped is when you're done being raped and it's like 'whew this feels great, not being raped!'" There were also other tweets that poked fun at the 9/11 attacks, AIDS, and the Holocaust.
Disney responded swiftly and decisively, firing the director on the spot and expressing dismay over his tweets in question. Neither Disney nor Marvel announced he was going to direct the third film, but Gunn had declared it on social media.
It remains uncertain whether Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will still premiere in 2020. Disney hasn't announced potential directors that can helm the film with Gunn fired.