On Friday evening, the actor tweeted that he’s “NOT ok” with the writer-director’s firing from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which Disney announced earlier in the day.
“I will have more to say but for right now all I will say is this..@JamesGunn is one of the most loving, caring, good natured people I have ever met,” tweeted Bautista. “He’s gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He’s made mistakes. We all have. I’m NOT ok with what’s happening to him.”
Bautista, a wrestler turned actor, had his breakout role as Drax in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which became a surprise hit for Marvel and Disney.
Marvel actor David Dastmalchian, who plays Kurt in the Ant-Man series, took to Instagram to defend Gunn and attest that the director is “one of the most amazing people” he’s known.
“I’ve been saying this FOR YEARS! @jamesgunn is one of the most amazing people i’ve ever known – both professionally & personally,” he wrote.
Gunn’s firing came after conservative personalities resurfaced old tweets Thursday in which the filmmaker joked about controversial topics, such as pedophilia and rape. Disney announced Friday that the studio was severing ties with the director, for his “offensive attitudes and statements.”
Following the studio’s announcement, Gunn issued a statement saying that he “regretted” the tweets in question and stressed that “they don’t reflect” who he is today.
“My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative,” his statement read. “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.”
He continued: “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.”
Prior to the firing, the director had also addressed the excavated tweets on Thursday, explaining that he viewed himself as a “provocateur” and told jokes that were “outrageous and taboo.” Gunn tweeted, “As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.”
He also added: “It’s not to say I’m better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.”
Gunn’s offensive tweets came to light after conservative website The Daily Caller dug up the social media posts, which were mostly posted in 2008 and 2009. Soon after, conservative personalities started demanding followers confront Gunn at San Diego Comic-Con, as he was expected to be at Sony’s presentation on Friday. Gunn did not show up at Comic-Con.
Prior to his recent controversy, Gunn had been writing the script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and the movie was expected to begin shooting in Atlanta in the fall for an expected 2020 release date, though Marvel Studios had never officially announced the date.