Hollywood is continuing to react to the news that James Gunn has been fired from Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 3 for offensive tweets he posted years ago.
On Friday (20 July), it was announced that the filmmaker – who is said to have completed work on the third film’s screenplay – had been let go after offensive posts in which he joked about subjects including paedophilia and rape between 2008 and 2012.
Disney’s decision was met with backlash after it was noted that Gunn had previously atoned for the messages leading many to believe the studio was aware of the posts years back.
Guardians star Dave Bautista led Gunn’s defence, stating: “He’s made mistakes. We all have. I’m NOT ok with what’s happening to him.”
A change.org petition calling upon Disney to re-hire Gunn has – at the time of writing – exceeded 150,000 signatures with several more Hollywood figures urging people to sign.
In a series of tweets, Selma Blair described Gunn as “one of the good ones,” adding: “If people are punished despite changing, then what does that teach people about owning mistakes and evolving?”
She has previously attributed the director with supporting her in coming forward with her personal experience of sexual harassment in the wake of the Time’s Up movement.
Lead Guardians star Chris Pratt also appeared to defend Gunn, albeit in a rather tame manner. He tweeted a verse from the Bible in which he quoted James 1:19: “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters. Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.”
Walt Disney Studios’ official statement announcing Gunn’s firing read: “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.”