Disney might be keeping mum regarding its decision to fire James Gunn, but the cast of the films has continued to—carefully—speak out. Most recently, Chris Pratt addressed the issue when speaking with the Associated Press, saying, “Its not an easy time. We all love James, and hes a good friend of ours, but we also really love playing the Guardians of the Galaxy. Its a complicated situation for everybody.”
Following a right-wing campaign spearheaded by Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec, who surfaced several of Gunns old, distasteful tweets, Disney chose to fire the Marvel director, who had helmed Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel, before starting work on the franchises third installment. In a statement, Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said, “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on Jamess Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studios values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.” But opposition to the decision quickly mounted, from celebrities and critics alike. As some pointed out, a large studio giving in to such a bad-faith campaign is not an encouraging sign about whats to come in the future. After a few days, the Guardians cast joined the fray as well, with an open letter calling for Gunns reinstatement.
In their letter, the cast members said they were “discouraged by those so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding [Gunn].” Although they made it clear that they do not support his old tweets, they said they believed he had evolved since making those jokes. (As Gunn himself has pointed out “Given the growing political divide in this country, its safe to say instances like this will continue,” the letter added, “although we hope Americans from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassinations and stop weaponizing mob mentality.”
During his interview, Pratt referred back to the letter, saying, “All I know is we put a lot of time, thought, and effort into the statement that we released about it. And I think we all kind of want that statement to be essentially what we have to say about it. And we were pretty clear and honest about how we feel.”
Pratt has been relatively careful about what he says regarding Gunn, but his fellow cast member Dave Bautista has been comparatively brazen, voicing his support for Gunn and arguing with the opposition on Twitter. Hes called Disneys decision “nauseating,” and the controversy itself a “cybernazi attack.” Last week, he said that if Disney chooses to move forward without Gunns original script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, he would like his role to be re-cast.
Its unclear when, or if, Disney will say more about its decision—but as the controversy continues to brew regardless, that silence might grow increasingly hard to maintain.
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