Dave Bautista Mocks Disney, Compares Studio to Donald Trump Post-James Gunn

With James Gunn still fired from Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Dave Bautista compares Disney to Donald Trump "making America great again."

Once upon a very recent time, Dave Bautista said he would ask to be let out of his contract to do Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 if Disney did not use James Gunn’s screenplay for the film. While unofficial leaks have suggested that Disney will indeed use Gunn’s script (at least until it gets rewritten extensively by his replacement and a new team), it’s an open question whether Bautista still wants out. After all, he did call working for Disney after James Gunn’s firing “nauseating.”

That opinion, at least, doesn’t appear to have changed with Bautista quite visibly taunting the Walt Disney Company and comparing them to President Donald Trump and his slogan used to activate the kind of fervent fanbase that worked to get Gunn fired from Disney last month. While retweeting a new ScreenRant article arguing for Disney to still rehire Gunn, and questioning the ugly precedent of caving to alt-right social media campaigns, Bautista wrote, “Thanks @Disney!! Making America Great Again!”

Bautista’s action comes after a recent report from Variety which said Disney was “standing firm” in its decision  to fire Gunn, and seemed to create the intended PR effect of causing fans to accept Gunn was fired. Bautista’s choice to keep the flames of this media story burning is likely not what Disney has in mind, as the Mouse House wanted it to appear final that they will not tolerate morally questionable behavior (unless it’s from alleged conduct of the star of their next Pirates of the Caribbean film).

Bautista saying “Make America Great Again” is in reference to the alt-right media personalities who spearheaded the mob against Gunn, notably including Mike Cernovich, a conservative media personality and conspiracy theorist who among other things peddled to prominence out of the “PizzaGate” lie that led to a man carrying a gun into a pizza parlor in search of Hillary Clinton’s supposed childhood sex trafficking ring. 

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Cernovich and other alt-right darlings dredged up more than a dozen tweets ranging six to 11 years ago in which Gunn made crude, offensive, and politically incorrect jokes about topics like rape, pedophilia, and race. Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, called these tweets “indefensible” when he fired Gunn several hours after they went viral online. And to his credit, Gunn did not defend them. Instead he apologized again for his past behavior as a provocateur, or would-be shock jock, and admitted they were offensive (He also apologized for such behavior in 2012 when Disney hired him, so it is unlikely they did not know about such “jokes.”)

Yet the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 have stood by Gunn, releasing a public letter implicitly requesting Gunn be reinstated. Bautista has consistently remained the most vocal of the cast, and at the very least he helped create the media narrative that Gunn might be rehired, so much so that an anonymous source was able to leak Horn had a “courtesy meeting” with James Gunn. Notably Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, who was not notified beforehand that Horn was firing Gunn, was “out of town.” We suppose Skype conference calling was available either?

However, Gunn at least appears to not be blacklisted. A number of movie studios are suggested to be lining up to work with the filmmaker after his exit from Disney is final. It would seem in an allegedly great version of America, Disney will not tolerate offensive jokes. Behavior on the other hand is an open question down in the Caribbean, luv.

David Crow is the film editor at Den of Geek and a member of the Online Film Critics Society. Read more of his work here. You can follow him on Twitter @DCrowsNest.

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