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The letter, which was signed by Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Michael Rooker, and Sean Gunn, called for Disney to rehire Gunn to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. The cast emphasized that they had made a point of waiting more than a week before releasing a statement to show that it was one they thought about beforehand. The cast noted that while they didn’t support the jokes that Gunn made on Twitter (some of which dated back to 2008), they believe that he is a good man and that he was sincere when apologizing for those jokes.
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. pic.twitter.com/TjNA9RF6M8— Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) July 30, 2018
“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. “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.”
But in their support of Gunn, they also called out, without naming, the far-right troll campaign that brought up Gunn’s old tweets into the “court of public opinion” in an effort to get him fired by Disney. They hope that people won’t resort to attacking one’s character and “weaponizing mob mentality,” although they acknowledge that it will keep happening.
Although Bautista had already voiced his support for Gunn, it’s the first time most of the cast is speaking out. With vocal support from the cast, it throws the ball back into Disney’s court. And while it remains unclear as to whether Disney will reverse course, it demonstrates that the Guardians of the Galaxy cast doesn’t see eye-to-eye with its own employers and is firm enough in that viewpoint to put out an open letter in the first place.
You can read the cast’s open letter in its entirety below.
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 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.
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 capacity to help and heal instead of hurting each other. Thank you for taking the time to read our words.
The Guardians of the Galaxy
Michelle Jaworski is a staff writer and the resident Game of Thrones expert at the Daily Dot. She covers entertainment, geek culture, and pop culture and has brought her knowledge to conventions like Con of Thrones. She is based in New Jersey.