Some in Hollywood are supporting James Gunn in the wake of Disney cutting ties with the director.
Gunn was fired from “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” last week after tweets resurfaced from several years ago in which he made jokes about pedophilia and molestation.
On Sunday, actress Selma Blair urged Disney to “RE-HIRE JAMES GUNN” and encouraged her followers to sign a Change.org petition in support of him.
“Because if people are punished despite changing, then what does that teach people about owning mistakes and evolving?” she tweeted. “This man is one of the good ones.”
As of early Monday, more than 175,000 people had signed the petition.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” star Dave Bautista also posted support for Gunn.
“I will have more to say but for right now all I will say is this..@JamesGunn is one of the most loving, caring, good natured people I have ever met,” the former wrestler, who portrays Drax the Destroyer in the “Guardians” films, wrote in a tweet. “He’s gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He’s made mistakes. We all have. Im NOT ok with what’s happening to him.”
Bautista later wrote, “What will you do when the #cybernazis attack you? Who will stand by you?”
“Who will cowardly distance themselves from you?,” he wrote. “Who will punish you for horrible JOKES in the past instead of defending you for INSPIRING millions? MILLIONS!!! #Redemption #injustice @JamesGunn.”
Others, including “Rick and Morty” co-creator Justin Roiland, also questioned if the punishment fit Gunn’s past actions.
Comedian/actor Patton Oswalt took aim at far-right social media personality Mike Cernovich, who is credited with digging up Gunn’s old comments.
“This is one of the LESS disgusting tweets from Mike Cernovich, the dude who, after running a Gamergate-style smear campaign, just got James Gunn fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3.,” Oswalt said in a retweet of what looked to be a tweet from Cernovich about date rape.
Alan Horn, chairman of The Walt Disney Company, described Gunn’s past tweets as “indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values” in a statement announcing Gunn’s dismissal on Friday.
After he was fired, Gunn issued a statement to EW apologizing for the tweets.
“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. To everyone inside my industry and beyond, I again offer my deepest apologies,” Gunn’s statement read in part.
CNN has reached out to reps for Gunn for additional comment.