The Cast of Guardians of the Galaxy Releases an Open Letter in Support of James Gunn

The cast of Guardians of the Galaxy has released a letter in support of writer-director James Gunn.
The cast of Guardians of the Galaxy has released a letter in support of writer-director James Gunn.
Photo: Disney

Guardians of the Galaxy cast members Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Sean Gunn, Pom Klementieff, and Michael Rooker have released a joint statement in support of writer-director James Gunn after he was fired from the third film earlier this month.

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Gunn, who directed the first two Guardians of the Galaxy films, was let go by Disney when offensive tweets of his surfaced from several years ago. Since then, there has been a vocal group of people calling for Disney, the company that owns Marvel and fired Gunn, to rehire him. In that time, though, only a few of the actors actually involved in the Guardians movies came out with public support. Now, however, all of them have signed the following letter.

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For those who can’t read the image, io9 has transcribed it below:

An Open Letter from the Cast of Guardians of the Galaxy

To our fans and friends:

We 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.

Being in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies has been a great honor in each of our lives.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.

Each of us looks forward to working with our friend James again in the future. His story isn’t over—not by a long shot.

There is little due process in the court of public opinion. James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial. Given the 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 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. Thank you for taking the time to read our words.

The Guardians of the Galaxy

In tweets of the same letter, Klementieff said, “Though I don’t support James Gunn’s inappropriate jokes from years ago he is a good man. I’d personally love to see him reinstated as director of Volume 3.” Saldana added that the cast is in “support of James Gunn’s reinstatement as director of GOTG Volume 3.”

It’s a strong statement with a lot of positivity to be gleaned from it. The question now becomes how Disney will react—and what happens if Gunn isn’t rehired on the film, which was expected to film early next year, and was likely to have a 2020 release.

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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DISCUSSION

johncooley
John Cooley

There’s just so much here. Part of the reason this situation feels so odd and unprecedented is because, as the letter alludes to, this is an extremely nuanced situation that is being handled in the court of public opinion- a court that is famously bad at handling nuance.

For example, here’s all the takeaways from this situation that I have bouncing around in my head at once:

-James Gunn’s tweets were shitty, gross, creepy and deeply stupid

-But also, making shitty shock humor tweets about rape or pedophilia is not the same thing as actually participating in rape or pedophilia, and putting them on the same ethical level is dangerous. Roseanne’s racist jokes were just that-direct instances of her participating in racism. This is not that. James Gunn never actively dehumanized another person. That’s not an insignificant difference.

-Disney’s decision was understandable from a business standpoint. They wanted to get ahead of any potential controversy. In an age where “we the people” are constantly holding institutions accountable for their bullshit (which isn’t a bad thing), it’s pushing said institutions to act faster, occasionally rashly so, to maintain an air of “responsibility” and avoid blame.

-It’s also undeniable, no matter what Disney says, that they knew exactly who Gunn was and his history prior to hiring him for a major blockbuster franchise. They didn’t just find out.

-This controversy didn’t arise, of course, out of normal circumstance- it’s a politically driven attempt at career assasination by people who disagree with Gunn’s politics. Regardless of what you think of the tweets, we should not be allowing people with purely political motivations to generate outrage for the purpose of destroying their opponents. That’s not how any of this should work.

- It’s clear at this point that the James Gunn who wrote those tweets is not emotionally or mentally the same person who has worked on the past two Gaurdians movies. Enough prominent voices have stuck their necks out in support that it’s clear that Selma Blair’s proclamation that Gunn is “one of the good ones” has some genuine merit.

-People can change. It appears that Gunn has. Considering he never actually did anything illegal or harmful towards another person, I think it’s reasonable to say that Gunn’s past should not define who he is now. We can give him a second chance.

See? How the hell do you condense all of that on twitter? You can’t.