On July 20, Disney announced that they'd taken James Gunn off the third installment of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie franchise after numerous controversial tweets written by the writer/director nearly a decade ago resurfaced. Now, the movie's cast is responding to his firing.
Many of the series' stars have shared on social media a signed open letter to Disney urging the studio to rehire Gunn.
"We fully support James Gunn. We were all shocked by his abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen, and discuss," began the letter, signed by Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn and Pom Klementieff. "In that time we have been encouraged by the outpouring of support from fans and members of the media who wish to see James reinstated as director of Volume 3, as well as discouraged by those who were so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories around him."
The letter also addressed the currently growing political divide in the United States. "There is little due process in the court of public opinion. James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial. Given the growing political divide in this country, it's safe to say instances like this will continue, although we hope American from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassinations and stop weaponizing mob mentality," it continued.
It ends on a hopeful note, that we can use what transpired as an example of the responsibility we have to think about what we're etching into the digital world, and to help educate instead of hurt each other.
"Although I don’t support James Gunn’s inappropriate jokes from years ago, he is a good man. I’d personally love to see him reinstated as director of Volume 3. If you please, read the following statement- signed by our entire cast," Pratt wrote in an Instagram post that included the letter. Read it below.
Upon his removal, Gunn issued an apology via Twitter.
“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," he wrote. "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," he added. "My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over."
"Anyway, that’s the completely honest truth: I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore. I don’t blame my past self for this, but I like myself more and feel like a more full human being and creator today. Love you to you all," he concluded.
Photo: Getty Images