‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Cast Pen Open Letter in Support of Fired Director James Gunn
Cast members of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise — which includes Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Bradley Cooper — penned an open letter in defense of director James Gunn, who was fired earlier this month after old tweets deemed offensive by Disney were uncovered.
Several of the cast members posted the letter on social media on Monday. “Although I don’t support James Gunn’s inappropriate jokes from years ago, he is a good man,” Pratt wrote in the caption. “I’d personally love to see him reinstated as director of Volume 3,” he added, referencing the Marvel franchise’s upcoming third installment.
Gunn, who directed both of the preceding films, was let go for tweets from 2008 and 2009 he later described in a statement as “wildly insensitive” and “unfortunate efforts to be provocative.” The topics ranged from pedophilia to rape. Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn in a statement said the tweets were “indefensible and inconsistent” with the studio’s values.
The films’ cast members were less critical, however, referring to Gunn in the letter as “our friend.”
“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 letter reads. “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 addition to Pratt, Saldana, and Cooper, the letter is signed by co-stars Dave Bautista, Karen Gillian, Sean Gunn (James’ brother), Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, and Michael Rooker.
Disney did not immediately respond to Fortune‘s request for comment.
A petition calling for Gunn’s re-hiring has also been posted on Change.org, garnering more than 338,000 signatures as of Monday afternoon.