Gunn, who was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 directing duties by Disney earlier this month after past offensive tweets resurfaced on Twitter, has the “full support” of the Guardians cast.
“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,” the statement reads. “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 so easily duped into believing the many outlandish conspiracy theories surrounding him.”
The stars aimed to express their “love, support, and gratitude” for Gunn, adding they “are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago but rather to share our experience having spent many years together on set making Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2.”
“In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever,” the statement continues. “We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now.”
Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Bradley Cooper (voice of Rocket Raccoon), Vin Diesel (voice of Groot), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Michael Rooker (Yondu), and Sean Gunn (Kraglin and on-set actor for Rocket) signed the letter.
Rooker, a longtime close friend of Gunn’s, quit Twitter entirely following the firing. Bautista has since championed Gunn’s reinstatement to the director’s chair and a petition launched by fans lobbying for a reversal of Disney’s decision has been signed more than 300,000 times.
Gunn’s swift firing came from Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn, who condemned the “offensive attitudes and statements” in Gunn’s social media history, calling the tweets “indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values.”
Speaking to Buzzfeed last May ahead of the release of Vol. 2, Gunn said working on the franchise forced him “into a much deeper way of thinking about... my relationship to people.”
“I was a very nasty guy on Twitter. It was a lot f—ing edgy, in-your-face, dirty stuff. I suddenly was working for Marvel and Disney, and that didn't seem like something I could do anymore,” Gunn said. He explained his time on the franchise made him more “sensitive” and “positive.”
“I mean, I really do love people. And by not having jokes to make about whatever was that offensive topic of the week, that forced me into just being who I really was, which was a pretty positive person,” Gunn said. “It felt like a relief."
A vilain is a vilain, no matter how may pies he bakes for the villagers. pic.twitter.com/WDUJj9Fq2f— ?Wonder Bruno? (@wonderbruno) July 30, 2018
this is why thanos killed all of y’all pic.twitter.com/VWUJ5L7oCx— gabby (@spideyystyles) July 30, 2018
Pedophilia is unacceptable. But he hasnt actually committed pedophilia. Simply made a few horrible tasteless jokes
They arent okay, but the fact that he hasnt done anything like that in 7 Years,while also apologizing, and proving that he has changed counts for something— Benjamin Elzey Reviews (@NathanielTalon) July 30, 2018
It happened nearly a decade ago, he apologized then, and again now. He's shown that he has changed an is no longer the same person who would do that kind of thing.
What more do you want from him? Do you stand by everything you said a decade ago?— Erin Bode (@ErinBode) July 30, 2018
well said. its also disgusting that they outright fired him, they hired him have to had known that these comments were out there. also the guy who brought them back to light has posted some horrendous shit. Thank you for this.— Thomas Hayward (@ThomasHayward) July 30, 2018
The age isn't the point, it's the fact that he has grown the past DECADE. He also apologized publicly years ago for it before he was hired by Disney so that shows growth also. What's the point in change if your past is thrown at you all the time?— King (@Hiken0011) July 30, 2018
as an actual child sexual abuse survivor, let me clear something up: fuck james gunn and the gotg cast.— ari (@xfrce) July 30, 2018
the gotg cast is really out here defending james gunn this is why they didn’t survive the snap— sosa (@pantheranium) July 30, 2018
tw// pedophilia, sexual assault— ?????? ? ??????!! (@sapphicroft) July 30, 2018
fuck james gunn and fuck anyone who supports him. defending what he did and saying he should be reinstated is damaging and shows how little y’all care about anyone who has been a victim of pedophilic sexual assault
Reminder James Gunn has over 10,000 deleted tweets and none of them are simply “jokes”. He made racist sexist and pedophilic comments. OVER 10,000. his age isn’t an excuse as he’s a 40 year old man when he made them. He’s a disgusting pedophile and deserves more then what he got— Jumpsuit Victoria|??️?||-// (@TargaryenHalsey) July 30, 2018
look i absolutely support the idea that people change & grow & are different from who they used to be etc BUT— aysu? (@petermjchelle) July 30, 2018
1)james gunn was a whole ass adult, not a teenager, and completely aware of what he was doing
2)not punishing his behavior will further perpetuate p*dophilia/r*pe culture
i am ready to support gotg cast but not james gunn— ?? thotbruce and mantis ?? (@tomshollander) July 30, 2018
The whole cast of Guardians of the Galaxy should of shut up and stayed quiet through this, they all sound annoying and they’re aren’t helping at all. “I don’t agree with what James Gunn said at all, but he should come back to direct us in GOTG3” like what? Just shut up— Funnel Ferry Butter Bar (@ItsDavery) July 30, 2018
‘we fully support james gunn’ but we don’t agree with the jokes he made pic.twitter.com/EuzSgfd8A5— rot (@ponchoreys) July 30, 2018
The Guardians Of The Galaxy cast knows James Gunn. None of you all do. Clearly he’s a good guy if they are risking their careers to support him. They aren’t defending the jokes. But everybody messes up. Everyone does some pretty bad things.— Nick (@edgyninja21) July 30, 2018
a fucking reminder that the only reason james gunn was “exposed” was because an alt-right nazi group wanted to ruin his career because of how liberal and vocal he was against trump, racism, homophobia, sexism, etc. y’all added to the fire. you fucking helped alt-right win— lex doesn’t give a fuck (@lokiSHAZAM) July 30, 2018
James Gunn should get hired back.
Just saying.— Victor Perez (@killafoe69) July 30, 2018
I agree. I don’t condone his tweets, but those were almost 10 years old and he already apologized for them in 2012. Now, if he did them today, then he’d deserve to be fired.— Jason Bouchard (@JasonBouchard88) July 30, 2018
the guardians of the galaxy cast do not deserve to be dragged because they are defending james gunn. they obviously loved working with him, and they probably wanted to be directed by him since it is going to be the last guardians movie. it isn’t their fault.— Josh (@cassianandjyn) July 30, 2018
Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige has yet to issue comment on the firing. Gunn was previously set to shepherd the cosmic side of the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe in addition to creative duties on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which Marvel intended for a January 2019 shooting start ahead of a 2020 release.