Back in 2008, I went back to Australia on holiday and caught up with me mate, Adam. Adam is a great guy with a beautiful family. We've been mates for years and have always shared a similar sense of humor and a love of Star Wars. As such, one of the first things we spoke about on this particular trip to Australia was the first Family Guy Star Wars Special. We both agreed it was good but Adam had a problem with the Obi Wan character being a pedophile. I didn't understand why he didn't find it funny but then I didn't have a kid. That was 10 years ago but I get it now.
Family Guy wasn't the only media making jokes about things that wouldn't be joked about now. You can watch any number of films or TV series from the 2000's and you'd be surprised by the number of homophobic, transphobic, pedophilic, or rape jokes that aired with little complaint. Check out this skit from The Whitest Kids U Know which aired on prime time TV about 10 years ago:
Good thing we've all evolved as a society since then and that we applaud anyone that has made the effort to better themselves... oh wait, we haven't.
10 years ago, James Gunn was a relatively unknown film maker. He'd made a few good films and had gained indy fame working with the great Lloyd Kaufman on Tromeo and Juliet. At the time, he was making a web series called PG Porn. PG Porn featured bestiality, misogyny, and manslaughter... it was actually pretty bloody funny...
...He was also posting tweets, for shock value, that made jokes about pedophilia. Now I'm a little disappointed by these tweets. Not because it's taboo subject (prime time TV were making similar jokes at the time) but because James Gunn is funnier than that.
6 years ago, James Gunn made a public apology for said tweets. Disney then hired him to helm a film about a largely unknown comic franchise featuring a talking raccoon and a sentient tree. He did an amazing job and the film was a huge success. He also made a sequel that may be my favourite modern film.
During this time, his twitter posts became largely about pointing out political problems (most recently about the thin skinned, tangerine bell-end, Trump). Last weekend, supporters of Trump dug up these old tweets to use as ammunition against the film maker. Mike Cernovich (a truly horrible man that has tweeted much worse himself), urged his followers to attend SDCC and give Gunn shit. Disney, fearing the backlash, behaved cowardly and distanced themselves from Gunn even though they absolutely had prior knowledge of the tweets in question.
This sets a couple of startling precedents. Firstly, what’s to stop the next dickhead from digging up old dirt on a celebrity that they disagree with politically and then ruining their career? Secondly, what incentive is there to better yourself if you can't escape your past?