'Guardians of the Galaxy' cast members like Dave Bautista defended James Gunn after Disney fired him, and a petition to reinstate him has over 170,000 signatures

Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

  • Disney fired the director James Gunn from “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” on Friday after a series of old, offensive tweets resurfaced.
  • Celebrities came to Gunn’s defence, including the “Guardians” actor Dave Bautista and the comedian Patton Oswalt.
  • Michael Rooker, who has appeared in the “Guardians” films and has a multiyear working relationship with Gunn, quit Twitter over the weekend.
  • A Change.org petition to rehire Gunn had more than 170,000 signatures as of Monday morning.

The director James Gunn’s past came back to haunt him last week when a series of old, offensive tweets resurfaced that prompted Disney to fire him from “Guardians of the Galaxy 3.” But some in Hollywood are displeased with the decision.

Gunn was fired Friday from the third “Guardians” film, expected in theatres in 2020, over crude tweets from several years ago that conservative personalities brought back into the spotlight. In the tweets, which Gunn had addressed and apologised for in the past, Gunn joked about topics such as rape and pedophilia.

“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,” Disney said in a statement on Friday.

Celebrities have spoken out about Gunn’s firing, among them the “Guardians of the Galaxy” actors Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, and his brother Sean Gunn.

Bautista, who plays Drax in the “Guardians” films, has been the most vocal, tweeting on Friday: “@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.”

He continued to tweet over the weekend and retweet others who also came to Gunn’s defence.

“Who will stand by you?” he tweeted. “Who will cowardly distance themselves from you? Who will punish you for horrible JOKES in the past instead of defending you for INSPIRING millions?”

Gunn’s brother Sean, who plays Kraglin in the “Guardians” movies, wrote a series of tweets about the matter, ending with: “Working on those movies made my brother a better person, and they made me one too. I’m proud of that.”

The thread is below:

Rooker, who played Yondu in the first two “Guardians” films and has worked with Gunn on numerous other projects, quit Twitter on Sunday presumably because of Gunn’s firing. He tweeted: “This account will be inactive after today. We’re very tired & upset over the ongoing BULL—-… neither I nor my rep will use Twitter again. Twitter sucks and I want nothing to do with it.”

His bio now says: “This account is no longer active. Michael Rooker has left Twitter and will not return.”

https://twitter.com/RookerOnline/status/1021118071803695104?ref_src=twsrc^tfw

Pratt, Saldana, and Gillan did not refer to Gunn by name but alluded that they stood with him. Pratt, who plays Star-Lord in the films, tweeted a Bible verse Sunday night.

Saldana, who plays Gamora, and Gillan, who plays Nebula, also broke their silence Sunday night. Though they said they would have more to say on the matter at a later date, they emphasised their love for their “Guardians” colleagues.

Others in Hollywood also came to Gunn’s defence, like the actress Selma Blair and the comedians Patton Oswalt and Rufus Hound.

Oswalt called out Mike Cernovich, one of those who resurfaced Gunn’s tweets:

Hound tweeted at Disney, “To fire James Gunn for jokes made as a younger man, jokes for which he has already apologised, goes against the moral code you taught us all when we were kids.”

And Blair tweeted a petition at Change.org for Disney to rehire Gunn:

https://twitter.com/SelmaBlair/status/1020913925594857473?ref_src=twsrc^tfw

As of Monday morning, the petition had more than 170,000 signatures.

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