Several members of the Guardians of the Galaxy cast are speaking out after writer-director James Gunn was fired for old tweets referencing pedophilia and rape.
Disney dropped the director from the franchise on Friday, after right-wing commentator Mike Cernovich unearthed some of the tweets, and said on Twitter that Gunn had posted “hundreds” of similar comments.
Reaction to the director’s firing was immediate with many Hollywood insiders and the cast of the Guardians of the Galaxy films rallying behind Gunn.
Former pro wrestler Dave Bautista, who plays Drax in the films, took to Twitter to express his anger over the director’s termination.
“What will you do when the #cybernazis attack you? Who will stand by you? Who will cowardly distance themselves from you?” Bautista tweeted Sunday. “Who will punish you for horrible JOKES in the past instead of defending you for INSPIRING millions? MILLIONS!!! #Redemption #injustice @JamesGunn.”
Zoe Saldana, who plays Gamora, also took to Twitter, writing: “It’s been a challenging weekend I’m not gonna lie. I’m pausing myself to take everything in before I speak out of term. I just want everyone to know I love ALL members of my GOTG family. Always will.”
Chris Pratt responded by sharing a Bible verse.
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters. Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. JAMES 1:19,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, Michael Rooker, who plays Yondu Udonta, said he was leaving Twitter over the “BULLS—T,” before deleting his account.
“This account will be inactive after today,” Rooker wrote. “We’re very tired & upset over the ongoing BULLS–T… neither I nor my rep will use Twitter again.”
Gunn posted the tweets between 2008 and 2009, before he was hired to work on the films. He wrote and directed the first two movies in the franchise, which were released in 2014 and 2017, and had previously been announced as the director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Among the tweets that forced the provocative director behind the Disney and Marvel franchise out were: “I like when little boys touch me in my silly place.”
Another tweet said: “The best thing about being raped is when you’re done being raped and it’s like ‘whew this feels great, not being raped!’”
Disney issued a statement saying, “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.”
Gunn has apologized for the social media posts, insisting they do not represent who he is now.
“My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative,” Gunn said in a statement Friday to Variety. “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.”