Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt is assembling his own army of Disney and Marvel stars to defend him from online critics. Earlier this week, the latest in a long line of "who's the best/worst Hollywood Chris?" memes ended up generating criticism of more than Pratt's abs; the actor, who fans have associated with conservative politics and who attends a church that is active in anti-LGBT activism, got tagged in a number of tweets branding him the "worst Chris" for his politics, with some casting aspersions on his character based on assumptions about his personality, political, and religious views.
Pratt, who is married to the daughter of former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, steers clear of openly discussing politics, which allows fans and critics on both sides of the political aisle to make their own assumptions. The result? Many on the left criticize him for (presumably) supporting U.S. President Donald Trump, while many on the right assume that he isn't more vocal in favor of conservative causes because of left-wing bias in the entertainment industry.
Building out from those starting points -- which may or may not be true to begin with, as Pratt claims that politics just aren't a big part of his life and identity -- both supporters and detractors have their own "versions" of the actor in their mind, and several of his fellow Marvel Cinematic Universe veterans have chimed in on social media in the hopes of dispelling those notions.
Mark Ruffalo, who is active in left-wing politics, called insults to Pratt "a distraction" to larger issues surrounding the upcoming U.S. election, and tweeted that Pratt "is as solid a man there is. I know him personally, and instead of casting aspersions, look at how he lives his life. He is just not overtly political as a rule."
Robert Downey, Jr. told Pratt's detractors they should delete their social media accounts and work on self-improvement, the latter being a message Downey has fixated on for years. After essentially blowing up his own promising career due to addiction and erratic behavior as a young man, Downey turned his life around, faced his demons, and became one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Pratt is not the first "controversial" actor he has rallied behind, either; Downey credits Mel Gibson with helping him put his life back together, and has frequently advocated for the Braveheart filmmaker to be accepted back into the Hollywood mainstream after a 2006 DUI arrest where he made anti-semitic remarks about one of the arresting officers spiraled out to broader accusations of racism and homophobia.
Zoe Saldana resisted going after Pratt's critics personally, instead focusing on uplifting her co-star. She tweeted, "Your family, friends, colleagues, and everyone who's ever crossed paths with you knows your heart and your worth."
Other former co-stars and collaborators of Pratt have jumped on the campaign as well, with filmmaker James Gunn advocating for Pratt's character and calling criticisms "nonsense." He cited previous comments by Pratt that said, essentially, that his church's stance on LGBT rights are not representative of his personal feelings.
Critics have responded to such comments by noting that whether he supports that specific position or not, tithing to an activist church inherently funds their activism. Some have also questioned why so many more Marvel actors have stood up for Pratt than defended Brie Larson when she was facing an online harassment campaign during and after the promotional tour for Captain Marvel.