The cast of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has signed a statement of support for director James Gunn, who was fired earlier this month after offensive tweets dating back to 2009 were uncovered by conservative personality Jack Posobiec.
In a statement signed by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, and Vin Diesel, among others, the Guaridans cast members said they “fully support James Gunn.”
“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. 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 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 when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from his heart, a heart we all know, trust, and love,” the statement adds. “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.”
The Guardians cast also called out “character assassinations” and “weaponizing mob mentality” that have become common place on the Internet. “There is little due process in the court of public opinion. James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial,” the statement reads. “Given the growing political divide in this country, it’s safe to say instances like this will continue, although we hope Americans from across the political spectrum can ease up on the character assassinations and stop weaponizing mob mentality.”
“It is our hope that was 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 written words when we etch them in digital stone; that we as 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.”
Read their full statement below:
In a statement released after his offensive tweets were first uncovered, Gunn wrote, “Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.”
Following his firing from Guardians Vol. 3, Gunn released a second statement, saying:
“My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be 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.”
“Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today. Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then. 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. To everyone inside my industry and beyond, I again offer my deepest apologies. Love to all.”
Gunn was responsible for the first two blockbuster entires in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. It was announced last year that he’d be back once again to finish the trilogy, and was at work on the script. Production was expected to begin this fall in Atlanta with eyes on a 2020 release date. It’s unclear who will replace Gunn in the director’s chair for Vol. 3.