The cast of the hit film franchise “Guardians of the Galaxy” issued an open letter Monday calling for the reinstatement of fired director James Gunn, who was ousted by Walt Disney Studios in response to offensive Twitter posts, some dating back a decade.
“We fully support James Gunn,” according to the open letter, which was signed by and posted on the social media accounts of the film’s stars, including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper.
Saldana’s Twitter post with the letter asks fans to read the statement “in support of James Gunn’s reinstatement as director” of “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3.”
The cast states that they were “shocked by his abrupt firing” and have since 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.”‘
Gunn was fired July 20 amid criticism that began surfacing about Twitter posts he had made, including joking references to issues such as rape, pedophilia and AIDS.
“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,” Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said in a statement announcing his firing.
Gunn, who directed and co-wrote the first two “Guardians” films, was working on the script for the third installment, and he was on board as director, with filming scheduled to begin this fall.
The cast letter notes that “each of us looks forward to working with our friend James again in the future.”
“Being in the `Guardians of the Galaxy’ movies has been a great honor in each of our lives,” according to the letter. “We cannot let this moment pass without expressing our love, support and gratitude for James. We 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.’ The character he has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set, and his apology, now and from years ago when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from the heart, a heart we all know, trust and love.
“In casting each of us to help him tell the story of misfits who find redemption, he changed our lives forever. We believe the theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now.”
Gunn issued an apologetic statement when he was fired, saying he accepts Disney’s decision and regrets comments that he described as attempts at being provocative.
“I have regretted them for many years since — not just because they were stupid, not at all funny, wildly insensitive and certainly not provocative like I had hoped, but also because they don’t reflect the person I am today or have been for some time,” Gunn said.
He said he takes “full responsibility” for his previous comments.
“All I can do now, beyond offering my sincere and heartfelt regret, is to be the best human being I can be: accepting, understanding, committed to equality and far more thoughtful about my public statements and my obligations to our public discourse,” he said.
The cast letter was also signed by Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker and Pom Klementieff.
“It is our hope that what has transpired can serve as an example for all of us to realize the enormous responsibility we have to ourselves and to each other regarding the use of our written words when we etch them in digital stone; that we as a society may learn from this experience and in the future will think twice before we decide what we want to express; and in so learning perhaps can harness this capability to help and heal instead of hurting each other,” the letter reads.
For more entertainment news, Chris Pratt received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.