Daniel Radcliffe movie Guns Akimbo to go ahead despite director’s ‘upsetting and disturbing’ Twitter posts

Ellie Harrison
Madman films trailer

The producers of Guns Akimbo have announced the film is staying on track for release, despite its director Jason Lei Howden being embroiled in a racism row on Twitter.

The action-comedy stars Daniel Radcliffe as a video game developer who inadvertently becomes the next participant in a real-life death match that streams online.

Howden was the subject of a social media backlash over the weekend, after he appeared to defend a writer's use of a racial epithet and condemn those who criticised it.

The controversy began when screenshots emerged of Dilara Elbir – a non-black film writer and editor-in-chief of Much Ado About Cinema – using the N-word in a private group chat.

Several of Elbir’s Much Ado colleagues quit in protest over the use of the racial epithet, and after being criticised heavily on Twitter, Elbir tweeted a since-deleted apology video that "indicated a suicide attempt", according to Vulture, who also reported that she was safe and in hospital.

Howden then wrote a thread calling Elbir’s critics “woke cyberbullies” and tweeted out a list of Much Ado’s former staff to identify those levelling criticism.

He appeared to defend Elbir’s use of the racial slur, writing: “The PRIVATE DM that was maliciously leaked was obviously an ironic joke. Can’t believe anyone would think she was being serious.”

Howden then used both his personal account and the official Guns Akimbo account to call out what he described as “toxic, disgusting ‘film writers’” who “bullied" Elbir. Jameela Jamil then weighed in, defending those writers and calling out Howden for "dog piling".

Howden's Twitter account has since been deleted, and he apologised for his outburst, saying: “Just to set the record straight, my posts were only meant to be about bullying. I don’t support Diara’s DM. Racism is not acceptable in any context…”

Guns Akimbo’s distributor Saban Films has issued the following statement regarding its release: “We are releasing Guns Akimbo this Friday, February 28th. While we do not condone, agree or share Mr Howden’s online behaviour, which is upsetting and disturbing, we are supportive of the film and all the hard work and dedication that has gone into making Guns Akimbo.”