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Don’t blame Twitter for what was said

July 28, 2018

“Guardians of the Galaxy” cast members appear to be having varied online reactions in the wake of writer-director James Gunn’s firing Friday, July 20, by Walt Disney Studios. Why?

Disney did what any business should do if it finds an employee’s Twitter or other social media accounts joking about pedophilia and rape.

The company has a franchise to protect and in true Disney Studios fashion, Chairman Alan Horn announce the firing by saying, “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values...”

Make no mistake, Disney is taking a risk. Gunn was the writer-director for the first two installments of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” series. He took an obscure Marvel comic and turned it into a successful space opera complete with comedy and retro music. Through the first two installments, the franchise has brought in more than $1.5 billion in global sales.

But there is little doubt that Disney will bounce back.

Some have claimed that Gunn, whose Twitter account is heavy on the left-leaning politics, was targeted by a right-wing online campaign to oust the writer-director. Sure, some will focus on this and try to make this political, but how it was brought to light is not as important as what was done.

Additionally, there seems to be a small uprising regarding what one does on his/her own time and on his/her own personal social media account is his/her own business.

Trolls beware; what you do and say online can impact you in the real-world. And it should.

The Columbus Telegram has always been a part of community dialogue and one look at our Facebook page reveals a concerning recent trend.

Letters to the editor were usually well thought out. They were thought provoking, encouraged open debate and were articulate. The process of having to write/type ones thoughts also gave time for calmer heads to prevail.

With the advent of social media, the responses to columns, articles and anything political in nature come quicker. Writers have also become less civil and foul language has become more prevalent. Yes, using two dollar signs behind a capital ‘A’ is still foul. We all know what it means.

Additionally, some people, who are easily identified by their profiles, say the most hateful, mean things. We are consistently surprised by this.

What we find admirable in this whole situation is Gunn’s accepting responsibility and his conduct.

He apologized saying, “My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative. I have regretted them for many years since – not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive, and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don’t reflect the person I am today or have been for some time.”

Many of us could learn from Gunn’s apology and example.

What you put out there on the internet stays there. Sure you can take stuff down on your end, but it is still out there. Gunn’s tweets in question were from 2008 to 2011.

Gunn continued in his statement, “Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today. Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then.”

Actor Michael Rooker, who played outlaw Yondu Udanto in the first two films, announced he was leaving the Twitter platform in a somewhat angry tweet, “This account will be inactive after today. We’re very tired & upset over the ongoing BULLS- - -…neither I nor my rep will use Twitter again.”

Other cast members were more subdued in their comments; supporting Gunn.

We applaud both Disney and Gunn for their actions.

This editorial will be in print AND online.

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