News & Politics

The Roaming Outrage Mob Took Down Roseanne Barr and James Gunn, But You're Probably Safe

James Gunn arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of "Ant-Man and the Wasp" at El Capitan Theatre on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

As you know because you’re on the Internet right now, everyone here has gone completely crazy. (Except me! I’m the last man and/or woman online with even the slightest remaining scrap of sanity, so it’s safe to listen to me. No, really. Honest.) And because everybody on the Interwebs is now muy loco, anything that anybody posts or tweets or Instagrams, no matter how pleasant or well-meaning, can have unexpected and disastrous consequences on their life and career. Or anybody else’s.

Case in point: Last week I told you about actor/writer/director Mark Duplass (Safety Not Guaranteed, The League), who was targeted by an outrage mob on Twitter for daring to say something nice about Ben Shapiro:

That was it. That’s all he said. He didn’t say, “I agree with everything this guy believes in, and you should too.” He simply extended an olive branch. He appealed to the common humanity in us all, and tried to make peace with somebody who disagrees with him politically.

In other words, he forgot he was living in 2018.

Within 24 hours, Duplass capitulated to the mob who was angry that he didn’t hate Shapiro as much as they do. He disavowed the guy he was ordered to disavow, and he groveled for forgiveness from his tormentors:

But that was only the beginning. Now the fallout has spread to… the Marvel Cinematic Universe???

Molly Prince, Daily Caller:

Filmmaker James Gunn came to the defense of director Mark Duplass on Wednesday after Duplass committed the sin of endorsing conservative commentator Ben Shapiro and calling him a “genuine person…”

“Maybe you disagree with Mark Duplass, which is completely fair (personally I think even Ben Shapiro’s mother should unfollow him). But that doesn’t make Duplass’ point-of-view evil,” Gunn tweeted…

TheDCNF search of his Twitter account, however, revealed Gunn’s anger doesn’t just end with Trump or Shapiro. Since 2008, Gunn has left a trail of racist, anti-semitic, homophobic and rape-related remarks on the social media platform. Most disturbingly, one tweet seems to suggest that Gunn witnessed an act of sexual assault between a child actor and a monkey.

The grim details are at the link. Long story short: James Gunn tweeted a lot of really sick stuff before Marvel hired him, back when he was making indie films. He claims he was just doing it for shock value. He insists he was just being an edgy Troma guy, and he regrets saying all that stuff, now that he’s making real money.

That’s not good enough, of course. Gunn wrote and directed the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies and reportedly was working on a third, but now Marvel has cut ties with him:

All because Mark Duplass tried to be a nice guy, and Gunn defended him.

Gunn’s public statements are legitimate news, and the reporters at my old haunt the Daily Caller were just presenting the facts. But it’s ironic that the story got picked up and amplified by the same alt-right warriors who love to “trigger the normies” with Holocaust memes and garbage like that. Now those same people are screaming at James Gunn for making disgusting jokes about rape and pedophilia. They are very, very triggered.

I honestly don’t think Gunn is a pedophile, and the only thing that offends me about his jokes is how lazy they were. But I don’t feel much sympathy for him, either. This is the world he helped create. Hell, just a couple of months ago, when Roseanne Barr was fired from her hit ABC show over a single bad tweet, Gunn said this:

If you say so, James Gunn.

I guess I’m ambivalent, but I’m not really sure. If it were up to me, I don’t know if I would’ve have fired either of them. Maybe I would’ve just told them both to keep their heads down, ride it out until the outrage mob inevitably moves on to the next target, and keep doing the jobs they were hired to do? Or maybe I would’ve just gone ahead and panicked. [shrug emoji]

But I didn’t defend Barr at the time, and I’m not going to defend Gunn now. If this is the game they want to play, then they have to accept that game’s single, solitary rule:

There are no rules.*

So now, a TV network has one less sitcom star and a goofy sci-fi/superhero franchise has one less auteur at the helm. Others will come in and replace them. In the meantime, their astonishing downfall serves as a warning to the rest of us. This is what can happen when a furious, anonymous mob screams for revenge.

Will feeding the mob make this stop?

Has it ever?

*That’s why I’m actually a bit relieved that my own Twitter account, @jtLOL, was just suspended. You can get the details here, if you care. Basically, I pissed off some white nationalists who abused Twitter’s reporting function because they don’t like me for whatever reason. I’m told it’s something called “brigade reporting.” It’s annoying to be falsely accused of “targeted harassment,” but in light of all these people getting fired over tweets, I’m kinda glad. These precious snowflakes just helped me dispose of nine years’ worth of bad tweets that my enemies could’ve used against me. If they had done this to James Gunn a week ago, he might still have a job!