Days after Disney ousted “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” director James Gunn for recently resurfaced controversial tweets, hundreds of thousands of fans have called on the studio behind the comic-book franchise to rehire the filmmaker.
Selma Blair, Dave Bautista, and director Joe Carnahan were among those who shared a Change.org petition on social media, urging Disney to “realize the mistake they made and not do it again in the future.” As of Monday morning, it has collected over 168,000 signatures.
“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,” Blair wrote.
Bautista, known for his role as Drax in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, further defended Gunn, saying the resurfaced tweets were results of a “cyber Nazi attack.” “What will you do when the #cybernazis attack you? Who will stand by you? Who will cowardly distance themselves from you? Who will punish you for horrible JOKES in the past instead of defending you for INSPIRING millions? MILLIONS!!!,” he wrote.
Gunn was fired on Friday after a series of decade-old tweets were unearthed that made light of offensive topics, such as rape and pedophilia.
“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.
Gunn, who directed the first two “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, issued an apology on Friday, writing, “In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies. For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out. I know this is a weird statement to make, and seems obvious, but, still, here I am, saying it.”