In July 2018, Walt Disney Studios swiftly dropped James Gunn from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise after the discovery of a series of offensive tweets. Posted before Gunn began work on the franchise, the tweets made jokes about a variety of controversial topics including sexual abuse, pedophilia, AIDS, and the Holocaust. A chairman for Disney released a statement shortly after Gunn was let go:
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.
After momentarily shutting his Twitter down and deleting the questionable tweets, Gunn posted a series of statements via Twitter apologizing for and explaining his actions. He claimed he engaged in highly provocative humor in his younger days, but had since changed as a person:
Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor. It’s not to say I’m better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.
On May 29, 2018, Roseanne Barr’s show, Roseanne, was canceled by ABC and ICM, her representation, released her as a client. Earlier that day, Barr sent out a tweet about Valerie Jarrett, former senior advisor to the Obama administration. In the tweet, Barr compared Jarrett, a Black woman, to an ape.
After an onslaught of angry tweets, Barr deleted the tweet and apologized. However, the fallout had already begun. ABC Entertainment released a statement saying: “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant, and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” said ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey.
“We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning,” ICM Partners stated. “What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency. Consequently, we have notified her that we will not represent her. Effective immediately, Roseanne Barr is no longer a client.”
In June 2015, following the announcement of his presidential candidacy, Donald Trump made comments on the divisive issue of immigration. Speaking specifically to those crossing the border from Mexico, he made highly inflammatory remarks that correlated Mexican residents with some highly undesirable attributes.
The conservative radio talking head saw a mass exodus of sponsors in early 2012 after a particularly misogynistic rant. Limbaugh used some very graphic terms to describe Georgetown University Law Center student Sandra Fluke for her public testimony in support of health insurance coverage for contraception.
Limbaugh apologized (which Fluke called “dubious”), but dozens of sponsors of his national radio show still fled.
In 2013, the Food Network canceled the Southern diva’s show after she admitted to using racial slurs in the past. The cancellation, accompanied by the loss of numerous endorsement deals, happened after a former employee filed suit claiming racial and sexual discrimination.
However, it should be noted the suit was later dismissed.
In a very clear example of not #winning, the actor was canned from his hit sitcom “Two and a Half Men” after making antisemitic remarks about show creator Chuck Lorre in a 2011 radio interview.
Sheen was swiftly fired, banned from the Warner Bros. production lot and replaced with Ashton Kutcher.
The blushing brunette got a hard dose of life when she was let go as the love interest in the Transformers movie franchise in 2009 after referring to the film’s director, Michael Bay, as “Hitler.”
However, Bay wasn’t the one who wanted her gone. Rather, it was fellow director Steven Spielberg who made the request.
The actor, no stranger to controversial tirades, saw his MSNBC show, “Up Late With Alec Baldwin,” canceled in late 2013 after unleashing a homophobic rant to a photographer.
However, his career has since rebounded thanks to a recurring bit on Saturday Night Live characterizing President Donald Trump.
The “Duck Dynasty” patriarch came under fire in late 2013 after making anti-gay comments during an interview with GQ. In response to the interview and comments, the reality star was initially suspended by A&E for the remarks.
However, the network later reinstated Robertson following fan backlash to the suspension.
The political satirist and television host lost his show “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher” shortly after agreeing with politically incorrect comments shared on the show. Maher agreed with a pundit that the 9/11 terrorists were not cowardly, and instead, the Americans “have been the cowards.”
He made additional inflammatory comments following that appearance, and his show was canceled just a few months later.
SiriusXM Opie & Anthony co-host Anthony Cumia got the boot in July 2014 after tweeting several racist comments. Apparently, Cumia was taking photos in Times Square and subsequently included a random woman in the pics. She reportedly punched him in the face after she objected to her inclusion in his pics.
Gottfried, known for his loud and unique intonation, lost his job as the voice of the Aflac duck in 2011. Gottfried was fired from the gig after tweeting jokes about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Not only were the jokes in poor taste, but also, as an insurance provider, Aflac does 75% of its business in those areas.
Technically, Bashir resigned, but the former MSNBC new host left the network following a tirade. During it, he called Sarah Palin “America’s resident dunce” and “world-class idiot.” At the time, he was calling Palin out for an equally-controversial comparison.
However, he did later apologize for making the crude remarks.
Easily a pioneer among the female political press corps, including the first female president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, Helen Thomas made some political news of her own in 2010 when she suggested Jews “get…out of Palestine.”
She did resign after the incident, but the damage permanently impacted her legacy.
In yet another story of a news anchor losing their job for a tirade, Rich Sanchez made news about just that in 2010. The former CNN news host called Jon Stewart a “bigot” and spouted off about how CNN and all major networks are run by Jewish people.
CNN wasn’t impressed and let him go from the network.