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Selma Blair took to Twitter this weekend, defending James Gunn and urging Disney’s Marvel to rehire the filmmaker for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after he was fired for controversial tweets that recently resurfaced.
“@JamesGunn I thank you for your talent, your decency and your evolution as a man. You propped me up when I was in a scary place, and guided me towards the decent and right thing to do,” the actress wrote. “You have shown strength of character more than most anyone I know. You understood.”
In a follow-up tweet, Blair shared a Change.org petition, titled “Marvel: RE-HIRE JAMES GUNN.” She added, “Because if people are punished despite changing, then what does that teach people about owning mistakes and evolving? This man is one of the good ones.” (As of Monday morning, the petition neared its goal of 200,000 signatures.)
Marvel: RE-HIRE JAMES GUNN – Sign the Petition! https://t.co/JeVbFZkQLL via @Change. Because if people are punished despite changing, then what does that teach people about owning mistakes and evolving? This man is one of the good ones.
— Selma Blair (@SelmaBlair) July 22, 2018
On Sunday, Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt appeared to defend Gunn as well, tweeting a verse from the Bible, quoting James 1:19: “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters. Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.” Other castmembers, including Zoe Saldana and Michael Rooker, have since taken to social media in response.
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters. Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.”
— chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) July 22, 2018
Gunn directed Pratt in the first two Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Pratt appeared at Comic-Con on Saturday to promote The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part in Hall H but did not address Gunn’s firing during the panel discussion.
Meanwhile, Blair and Gunn have been close for years. Last year, when she detailed to Vanity Fair the sexual harassment she faced while auditioning for James Toback, Blair said that Gunn’s support helped her come forward with her story. In a separate interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Blair said that Gunn and Doctor Strange writer-director Scott Derrickson “reached out and said how important it was to be on this side of history.”
Gunn was fired on Friday after conservative personalities resurfaced old tweets in which the filmmaker joked about controversial topics such as pedophilia and rape. Gunn has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump.
“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.
Apart from Blair, Gunn also received support from Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista, who tweeted Friday that he was “not ok” with the director’s firing. After learning of Blair’s praise for the helmer, Bautista thanked the actress, further arguing that the firing was a result of a “cyber nazi” attack.
“What happened here is so much bigger then G3, @JamesGunn,myself,@Disney, etc,” Bautista tweeted. “This was a #cybernazi attack that succeeded. Unless we start to unite together against this crap, whether people are offended are not! …it’s going to get much worse. And it can happen to anyone.”
Bautista also argued: “Who will punish you for horrible JOKES in the past instead of defending you for INSPIRING millions? MILLIONS!!! #Redemption #injustice.”
Meanwhile, Gunn’s brother Sean, who also stars in the Guardians franchise, came to his defense, urging fans to still “appreciate” the films despite his director brother formerly being “kind of a jackass.”
“My hope is that fans continue to watch and appreciate the Guardians movies, not despite the fact that the filmmaker used to be kind of a jackass, but because of it. They are, after all, movies about discovering your best self,” the actor tweeted. He also reiterated that this is not the first time the director has apologized for the controversial tweets, and therefore has always “been part of the story.”
In response to the tweets resurfacing, Gunn wrote on Twitter last week: “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.”
He 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.”
The offensive tweets, which were posted in 2008 and 2009, made headlines after conservative website The Daily Caller published an article about them. Gunn issued a statement on Friday afternoon, admitting that he “regretted” the tweets in question, emphasizing that “they don’t reflect the person I am 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 his termination, Gunn had been writing the script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Though Marvel Studios had never officially announced the date, the movie was expected to begin shooting in Atlanta in the fall for an expected 2020 release date.
July 22, 7:32 p.m. Chris Pratt’s tweet added.
July 23, 10:40 a.m. Updated with petition signatures.
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