Fired Guardians Of The Galaxy 3 Director James Gunn Defended By Hellboy Star Selma Blair

"You have shown strength of character more than most anyone I know."

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On Friday, it was reported that director James Gunn had been fired from the movie Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 by Disney following the resurfacing of tweets he made several years ago. Gunn's departure led to a swift response from his Guardians star Dave Bautista, and Bautista has now been joined by actress Selma Blair, who has tweeted a passionate defence of Gunn. [Update: The wider Guardians cast has voiced their support for Gunn.]

Blair, who is best known for movies such as Hellboy and Legally Blonde, wrote to Gunn on Twitter, thanking him for his friendship and for his support in her decision to speak out about the abuse she alleges against disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein.

"I thank you for your talent, your decency, and your evolution as a man," she wrote. "You propped me up when I was in a scary place, and guided me towards the decent and right thing to do. You have shown strength of character more than most anyone I know. You understood."

Blair followed this with a second tweet, in which she linked to a Change.org petition asking Disney to rehire Gunn. She added: "Because 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."

Guardians lead actors Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana also responded to Gunn's dismissal from Vol. 3, but in far vaguer terms. Saldana stated it had been a "a challenging weekend," and that she was "pausing myself to take everything in before I speak out of term." Pratt, meanwhile, simply tweeted a Biblical quote.

The tweets that led to Gunn's dismissal date back almost a decade, and saw the director joking about topics like pedophilia and rape. They resurfaced online via conservative website The Daily Caller, and Disney was quick to sever ties with him. In a statement, 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 offered a subsequent statement in which he took responsibility for the tweets and accepted Disney's decision. "My words of nearly a decade ago were, at the time, totally failed and unfortunate efforts to be provocative," his statement read. "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.

"Regardless of how much time has passed, I understand and accept the business decisions taken today. Even these many years later, I take full responsibility for the way I conducted myself then. All I can do now, beyond offering my sincere and heartfelt regret, is to be the best human being I can be: accepting, understanding, committed to equality, and far more thoughtful about my public statements and my obligations to our public discourse."

The news emerged in the midst of San Diego Comic-Con 2018, where Marvel was not expected to have any major announcements. Gunn himself was set to appear at SDCC on Friday during the Sony Pictures panel to promote a new project, but Sony subsequently pulled this announcement from its schedule.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 had been set for release in 2020, though Gunn's removal could affect that. The events of Avengers: Infinity War stand to have a potential impact on the film, though Avengers 4--due out next year--could always make further changes. Without saying how, Gunn had previously teased that Guardians 3 would be "very different."

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