Guardians of the Galaxy director blasted over sexist online poll

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Jan 14, 2013, 1:38 PM EST

Polls that find base and sophomoric thrills in the over-sexualized nature of comic book characters aren't exactly in short supply on the Internet. But when someone chosen by Joss Whedon to direct a major Marvel film puts one together, people can't help but take notice. Uh-oh.

Today, Marvel and the House of Mouse learned a hard lesson—always vet the creative team of your major projects before the Internet does it for you. If there's dirt, they will find it, and in the case of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, they found a doozy.

Gunn was selected for Guardians with good reason. He's a nerd's nerd. Gunn takes a lot of pleasure in interacting with his fellow fans, and when it comes to comic books, he's certainly proven time and again that he's got the extensive knowledge to do justice to even a less-known property. Unfortunately, Gunn also seems to enjoy being as crass as he possibly can.

Let's get right to the guts of it. James' site played host on two separate occasions to a poll of top 50 superheroes people most want to have sex with. To his credit, James did poll fans extensively and made sure to include both fictional men and women on the list. He also took care to pay due credit to the artists who have made many of those characters popular. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, in addition to providing the list, Gunn also added his own, personal color commentary, and that, folks, is where we run into trouble. While this is the Internet and authorial intent can sometimes be lost, every online writer has to accept that there are consequences to what they choose to write. So maybe when Gunn referred to Gambit as a "cajun fruit" and said he hoped that Tony Stark "turned" Batwoman away from being a lesbian, he should have thought better. Or at least thrown in a "jk, LOL" at the bottom. Anything.

Instead, we get unabashed references to Gunn's penis all over the entire poll, not to mention the mocking of female superheroes for having sex, continually calling several of the male heroes "gay" in a derogatory fashion, and alluding to several of the women being forced to do lewd acts against their will.

So, naturally, someone on the Internet found the poll even though it was a year old and shared it on tumblr. From there, people immediately began to call for Gunn to be fired from Guardians of the Galaxy. Unsurprisingly, attempts were made to take the poll down, but the Internet is forever and Google cache ensured that the poll remained available to anyone who might want to peruse it.

We can't speak to what Marvel, Disney or James Gunn should do, but if you're looking to make your own informed opinion, we'd say check out the poll for yourself. Then, please, tell us what you think. Was Gunn out of line? Should he lose his job? Or should we collectively let the poll be a joke gone wrong and fall into obscurity?

(via the Mary Sue)