The stars of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” superhero film franchise on Monday came out in defence of director James Gunn, who was fired by Disney earlier this month over a series of recently-emerged old tweets in which he made jokes about rape and paedophilia.
“We fully support James Gunn. We were all shocked by his abrupt firing… and have intentionally waited these ten days to respond in order to think, pray, listen and discuss,” according to the letter on actor Chris Pratt’s Instagram, which was signed by Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista and others.
The actors said they were “encouraged by the outpouring of support” from those who wish to see Gunn reinstated on the series, but were discouraged by “those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories” surrounding the director.
Gunn’s old tweets – in which he joked about rape and paedophillia – were unearthed then published by the conservative Daily Caller news website, leading to his dismissal by Disney on July 21.
The Missouri-native issued a statement in The Hollywood Reporter saying he regretted and took full responsibility for the tweets, which was followed by Bautista saying he was “not ok” with the firing.
“He’s gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He’s made mistakes. We all have,” the actor wrote on Twitter.
Gunn wrote and directed the two previous “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, and had been due to release a third instalment in the series in 2020.