Last month, 10 year-old tweets by Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, which contained disgusting jokes about rape and pedophilia, were brought back into the public eye.
Gunn soon found himself on the wrong end of an outrage mob which called for his immediate castigation and termination. Within hours of the tweets resurfacing and the growing online mob forming, Disney took action, firing Gunn and denouncing his conduct in the strongest terms: “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.”
While the right commonly denounces the use of outrage mobs to achieve political ends, they ironically stepped up to lead the charge against Gunn, a prolific leftist and staunch opponent of President Trump.
In fact, there are many on the right who seem to be acting in the same fashion as the mob that recently attacked Mark Duplass after he said Ben Shapiro was a commentator worth hearing out. If you dare say Shapiro is an intelligent voice worth listening to, you are a racist, xenophobic, homophobic, bigot. Similarly, if you say that James Gunn didn’t deserve to be fired or ripped to shreds over gross and offensive jokes made and retweeted 10 years ago— jokes which Gunn had apologized for long before this most recent controversy, jokes which, in a surprising number of cases, were taken out of context— you are a pedophilia-enabling traitor.
Right-wingers who attacked Gunn might find themselves in a predicament. Recent ‘conservative’ darling Chris Pratt came out in defense of Gunn, along with the rest of the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy. Pratt recently made headlines for his speech at the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards where he told the audience that “God is real,” and “God loves you.” The cast really hits the nail on the head with this excerpt from their joint statement:
“There is little due process in the court of public opinion. James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial. Given the growing political divide in this country, it’s safe to say instances like this will continue, although we hope Americans from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassinations and stop weaponizing mob mentality.”
As a private corporation, Disney has the right to hire and fire as they see fit— they are not obligated to keep anyone under any circumstances. If Disney and Marvel truly saw Gunn as a liability which jeopardized business interests, then fine, case closed.
But let’s not beat around the bush, they likely did not make this decision based solely on their initial viewing of Gunn’s old tweets. Their decision was heavily, if not solely, influenced by a horde of politically motivated individuals seeking to knock the left down a peg by giving one of their celebrities what they saw as just retaliation for the firing of Roseanne, or the attempted boycott of Laura Ingraham.
The right cannot bemoan the toxicity of left-wing political strategy while simultaneously participating in said strategy with the same vigor as every leftist with a keyboard when the opportunity arises. Censoring leftists because you don’t like the fact that leftists censor conservatives makes your philosophy no better than the left-wing dogma you claim to fight.
If you burn books to get back at book-burners, you are no more than a book-burner with a different credo.
What this boils down to is some on the right feel that free speech belongs to just them. Cernovich, Posobiec, Yiannopoulos, and the like are just as much of a threat to free speech as Linda Sarsour and Tariq Nasheed. Free speech belongs to everyone, not just one side of the political spectrum.
If you would like to read up on this subject, we suggest getting the book for which this article is named for. Free Speech for Me–But Not for Thee: How the American Left and Right Relentlessly Censor Each Other by Nat Hentoff.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.