Before I begin, I want to warn any sensitive viewers about the disturbing, sexual nature of the following tweets and articles. The content I expose here is disgusting. It's not for the squeamish.
"Guardians of the Galaxy" writer and director James Gunn's relationship with Disney and Marvel has been reportedly severed, and it's all thanks to the Twitter rage brigade.
Conservatives were out for blood after Gunn blasted Trump in a series of tweets, calling for his impeachment. This set Mike Cernovich on his trail, going as far back as 2010 to dig up dirt on Gunn. Thus surfaced the infamous, pedophilic tweets, among which were an apparent retweet of "I like it when little boys touch me in my silly place! Shhh!" and a link to a YouTube video about 100 teenage girls touching themselves.
After receiving backlash from Cernovich's witch hunt, Gunn tweeted out an apology thread:
Shortly afterward, in a since-deleted tweet, Gunn tried searching for his old tweets, presumably in order to delete them.
He was successful, as all offensive tweets have since been deleted. His motivations are unclear, and while he could've been attempting to hide all evidence of misconduct, he also could've been trying to further disassociate himself from his past self. The latter seems the most likely given his recent statement released by Variety:
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.
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. All I can do now, beyond offering my sincere and heartfelt regret, is to be the best human being I can be: accepting, understanding, committed to equality, and far more thoughtful about my public statements and my obligations to our public discourse. To everyone inside my industry and beyond, I again offer my deepest apologies. Love to all.
Regardless of how sorry he is, Disney's reputation is at stake, and as a company whose main consumers are children, they can't afford to keep him on for "Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3" or future films.
I want to make one thing clear: this is NOT about partisan fighting. So much on Cernovich's Twitter (which is a nonstop smear campaign) is defending his actions and blaming the left for coming after him. The problem is not political; it's moral.
Pedophilia is not joke material, whatever old Viners and comedians would lead you to believe. That trauma is not a punchline. Gunn seems to recognize that now. But his old jokes are reflective of a much deeper problem in our culture, one that has, for far too long, allowed sexual harassment and assault.
If there's one thing to be grateful of in regards to Gunn's firing, it's that it shows a cultural shift.
Ever since the Weinstein scandal and resurgence of the #MeToo movement, Hollywood and our culture in general has been more sensitive and less forgiving of sexual scandals, as we should be. No longer will we turn a blind eye to issues like this, claiming that it's "just a joke" or that "boys will be boys." No longer will we allow rape culture.
So why is Cernovich still standing?
I think it's high time we delve into his sketchy, problematic past.
This is the man who, in one tweet, both denied date rape exists and encouraged men to try it:
The screenshot says it was tweeted back in 2012, but any advanced search on Twitter will tell you the tweet no longer exists on Cernovich's page.
Now who's deleting disgusting tweets from his past?
Cernovich also wrote a piece entitled "When In Doubt, Whip It Out," and it's just as rapey as you could imagine. It's extremely NSFW and a bit vomit-inducing, so read at your own risk.
The piece is centered around a sexual encounter Cernovich had with his Indian girlfriend at the time, and right out of the gate, he's making racist remarks about Indian "girls," citing them all as "annoying" and "selfish teases."
In graphic detail, he continues to set the scene. They were making out, but she has apparently had enough and isn't interested in going any further, as evidenced by the way she refuses to let him take off her clothes. He decides to take matters into his own hands, masturbating in front of her and forcibly fondling her breasts.
If you haven't thrown up yet, you will.
The two then go back to his place and have sex, and the main takeaway from the article is to do what he did. His actions brought the two of them "closer to boning," which is clearly the ultimate goal of any interaction, whether a party wants it or not. He recommends to other men to not "settle" for the makeout, and instead make your partner forcibly aware of what's going on with your anatomy.
Gunn's tweets were beyond out of line and clearly disgusting. But Cernovich's own tweets and article, promoting sexual harassment and rape, are on the same level of horrifying.
If Gunn has been the most recent victim of "cancel culture," then it's Cernovich's turn.
And it's not a tit for tat situation. As if because one liberal was taken down by Twitter, a self-proclaimed member of the "new right" should be, too.
It's about what allowing such behavior says about our culture's values.
If we really value people, we can't be permitting any kind of language that promotes pedophilia or rape. Those that insist on it, even as a joke, must be punished as an example to everyone else. If they weren't, what does that make us?