Chris Pratt and his fellow "Guardians of the Galaxy" cast members signed an open letter publicly professing their support for director James Gunn, whom Disney fired after old, distasteful tweets resurfaced on the internet.
What's the background on this?
On July 20, Disney announced that it would be firing Gunn as a result of his sharing offensive and distasteful jokes on Twitter years ago.
According to Polygon, a "far-right campaign" targeted Gunn — who has been vocal in his opposition of President Donald Trump.
In response to the tweets, which you can read more about here, Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said, “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.”
As a result of his firing, Gunn lost out on directing the third installment of "Guardians of the Galaxy."
What did Gunn say?
In response, Gunn issued an apology for the offending Twitter jokes. He wrote:
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. 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. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.
In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies.
For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out. I know this is a weird statement to make, and seems obvious, but, still, here I am, saying it.
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.
1. 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. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 20, 2018
What did the open letter say?
Pratt shared a copy of the letter across his social media platforms and captioned the photo, "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."
Those who signed the open letter supporting Gunn included Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, and more.
On social media, some of the cast called for Disney to reinstate Gunn as director of the franchise's third installment, and some stars have even pointed to a Change.org petition — which, at the time of this writing, has nearly 340,000 signatures. They are trying to secure 500,000 signatures.
The letter began:
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. In that time, we've 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 surrounding him.
"There is little due process in the court of public opinion," the letter continued. "James is likely not the last 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 Americans from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassinations and stop weaponizing mob mentality."
You can read the full letter below.