HOLLYWOOD—Director James Gunn was fired from the upcoming third installment of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise on Friday, July 20. He was let go because of old tweets referencing rape, pedophilia, masturbation, AIDS, and 911, that he made in a joking manner.

One tweet read, “I like when little boys touch me in my silly place.” Another tweet read, “The best thing about being raped is when you’re done being raped and it’s like ‘whew this feels great, not being raped!” A third tweet read, “Laughter is the best medicine. That’s why I laugh at people with AIDS.”

Gunn previously directed “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”  The first movie scored a 91 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes while the second scored a 83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Both films were successful at the box office, with the first flick earning $773.3 million globally and the second earning $863.8 million globally. 

Disney President Alan Horn said in a statement to USA Today on Friday, “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.”

One of the stars of the films, Dave Bautista, tweeted support for Gunn writing: “I will have more to say but for right now all I will say is this..@JamesGunn is one of the most loving, caring, good natured people I have ever met. He’s gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He’s made mistakes. We all have. Im NOT ok with what’s happening to him.”

Gunn issued an apology once the old tweets resurfaced.

“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,” said Gunn.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is expected to be released in theaters in 2020.