Ten days after James Gunn, the director of Disney's Guardians of the Galaxy films, was fired after the resurfacing of offensive tweets from years ago, the lucrative franchise's cast has signed a letter urging the studio to rehire him.
"We fully support James Gunn," began a statement signed by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper and more.
"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 around him."
Pratt posted the full letter to his Instagram account. "Although 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," he wrote.
Saldana also tweeted: "If you please, read the statement written and signed by The Guardians of the Galaxy cast in support of James Gunn's reinstatement as director of GOTG Volume 3."
Disney fired Gunn from "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3″ when some of his tweets from as far back as 2009, which included jokes about rape and pedophilia, started circulating online.
Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said, "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."
Gunn had previously apologized for homophobic and sexist blog posts years ago. When he was fired by Disney, he apologized again and released another statement.
"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."
His tweets resurfaced after members of the pro-Trump Internet found them and posted them on social media, led by figures such as Mike Cernovich, who linked Gunn's tweets to a conspiracy theory about a Hollywood pedophilia ring.
Gunn also had many defenders, as his firing sparked backlash from those angered by far-right circles weaponizing old tweets from their liberal "enemies" and pressuring companies to fire them.
In their joint statement, the cast members reiterated that they were not trying to defend his jokes from years ago but wanted to share their experience of working with Gunn on the first two movies.
"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," they wrote.
"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 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."
The first Guardians of the Galaxy film, written and directed by Gunn, grossed $773 million worldwide in 2014. Three years later, the second version made $864 million. "Vol. 3″ is reportedly slated for 2020.
Representatives for Disney and Gunn did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the cast's statement.
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