Celebs react to Disney firing James Gunn

James Gunn, writer-director of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, was fired by Marvel's parent company Disney after a series of lewd tweets from his past were rediscovered. The posts in question were dug up by alt-right conservatives Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec.

Gunn had apologized once before in 2012 for his controversial jokes, but he took to Twitter again in July 2018 and attempted to defend himself. He tweeted, in part, "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 to you all." Disney fired him the next day. 

"The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James's Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio's values, and we have severed our business relationship with him," Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said in a statement, per Variety.

News of his abrupt firing quickly spread through social media where many celebrities, including several of the Guardians' cast, were quick to defend Gunn. 

Chris Pratt

When Guardians of the Galaxy hit theaters in 2015, Chris Pratt went from a Parks and Rec regular to a summer blockbuster leading man overnight. So it was a bit of a surprise when Pratt showed up at Comic-Con the day after Disney's announcement, having not yet addressed Gunn's surprising departure. There to promote The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Pratt received a "massive reception from the crowd," but Gunn was "not brought up" during a panel Q&A (The Hollywood Reporter). 

As is turns out, Pratt, who is a Christian, indeed had something to say about his friend's abrupt firing — he was just waiting to say the right words at the right time. "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters. Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger," Pratt tweeted. "JAMES 1:19." When you're upset and you start quoting scripture to keep you calm, you know things must be pretty serious.

Zoe Saldana

It also took Guardians of the Galaxy star Zoe Saldana a few days to publicly share her thoughts on Gunn's dismissal. Saldana — who plays Gamora, the green alien assassin — took to social media to say that, although she will be speaking out, she wants time to process all the information first. "It's been a challenging weekend I'm not gonna lie," she tweeted. "I'm pausing myself to take everything in before I speak out of term. I just want everyone to know I love ALL members of my GOTG family. Always will." We bet her fans are looking forward to hearing what Saldana has to say.

"When it's time you will speak from your heart like you always do. Until then #weareGroot love you hermana," her Guardians co-star Dave Batista replied. At the time of this writing, Saldana hasn't spoken out since this tweet, but Bautista? Oh, Bautista has a lot on his mind. 

Dave Bautista

Dave Bautista, who plays strongman Drax the Destroyer in the Marvel franchise, was the first member of the cast to respond to the news of Gunn's firing publicly. "I will have more to say but for right now all I will say is this..@JamesGunn is one of the most loving, caring, good natured people I have ever met," he tweeted. "He's gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He's made mistakes. We all have. Im (sic) NOT ok with what's happening to him." Man, we'd hate to be a Disney executive in the same room as the former professional wrestler anytime soon.

Bautista has also vocally condemned the impetus behind Disney's decision. "What will you do when the #cybernazis attack you?" he asked. "Who will stand by you? Who will cowardly distance themselves from you? Who will punish you for horrible JOKES in the past instead of defending you for INSPIRING millions? MILLIONS!!! #Redemption #injustice."

Karen Gillan and other cast members

A few more stars of the Guardians franchise jumped to Gunn's defense on social media. Karen Gillan, who plays Gamora's adopted sister Nebula, tweeted, "Love to every single member of my GOTG family." Pom Klementieff, who plays Mantis, tweeted a video of a note she wrote, which read, "We are Groot. We are a family. We stand together." 

Michael Rooker, who plays Yondu (and who has starred in four James Gunn films), tweeted, "James Gunn knows. That's all that matters" (via The Independent). However, the replies were apparently so bad that Rooker's representatives who run his social media deleted his Twitter account. "Friends and fans… an important announcement from Michael Rooker," his final tweet read. "This account will be inactive after today. We're very tired & upset over the ongoing BULLS**T… neither I nor my rep will use Twitter again. Twitter sucks and I want nothing to do with it. Thank you to all who gave kind words & support. See you on Instagram."

Sean Gunn

Sean Gunn, James Gunn's brother, wrote an eloquent and heartfelt nine-tweet thread about his brother's evolution as a person and as an artist. Calling him "kind, generous, and compassionate," Sean said that, since his sibling had devoted six years of his life to the Guardians movies, he'd became more "open-hearted than the guy who needed to get a rise out of people by making nasty or offensive jokes." 

He then urged fans to see the parallel of growth of his brother and the Guardians characters. "So I guess my hope is that fans continue to watch and appreciate the Guardians movies, not despite the fact that the filmmaker used to be kind of a jacka**, but because of it," he tweeted. "They are, after all, movies about discovering your best self." He concluded, "Working on those movies made my brother a better person, and they made me one too. I'm proud of that. Peace."

Patton Oswalt

Comedian Patton Oswalt, a vocal opponent of Trump and an avid Twitter user, is all too familiar with the tactics employed by the alt-right's Mike Cernovich. Replying to a tweet with a screen grab of Cernovich claiming that "date rape doesn't exist," Oswalt made sure all his followers knew. "This is one of the LESS disgusting tweets from Mike Cernovich, the dude who, after running a Gamergate-style smear campaign, just got James Gunn fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. Okay have a good weekend," Oswalt tweeted.

He liked several replies to his tweet, making it clear where he stands on this issue. One of those replies said, "So, online trolls weaponized the left's morality against them," sarcastically adding, "We all collectively agree that James Gunn can't grow as a person and today's toxicity [is] probably how it has always been. Trolls win. The rest of us lose."

Selma Blair

In a since-deleted post (per The Hollywood Reporter), actress Selma Blair took to Twitter to defend James Gunn. "@JamesGunn I thank you for your talent, your decency and your evolution as a man. You propped me up when I was in a scary place, and guided me towards the decent and right thing to do," Blair wrote. "You have shown strength of character more than most anyone I know. You understood."

She followed it up (in another since-deleted tweet) by urging her fans to sign a Change.org petition, titled "RE-HIRE JAMES GUNN." She added, "Because if people are punished despite changing, then what does that teach people about owning mistakes and evolving? This man is one of the good ones."

We're not sure why those tweets disappeared, but two days later, the actress posted a photo of herself sleeping on a bouquet of flowers with the caption, "In a storm of ugly. I have somewhere to rest my heart. Love. Thank you." 

Unfortunately, unlike Blair, Twitter trolls never sleep.