Since his firing, “Guardians” fans have circulated petitions online calling for Disney to reinstate him. By Monday evening, one such petition on Change.org had more than 345,000 signatures.
The letter released by Mr. Pratt and his co-stars did not join the fan petitions in demanding that Mr. Gunn be rehired as director of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” which is set to begin shooting in the coming months. None of the actors threatened to quit. (The other signees were Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan and Sean Gunn, who is Mr. Gunn’s brother.)
But the actors did say in the letter that Mr. Gunn had their “full support” and that they were “shocked” by his abrupt ouster by Disney, especially since the offending tweets were written “many years ago.” “Each of us looks forward to working with James in the future,” the letter said. “His story isn’t over — not by a long shot.”
Disney declined to comment.
Disney is unlikely to reverse its decision to fire Mr. Gunn. Doing so would force the company to explain why Mr. Gunn’s tweets — written years ago, yes, although the director was also in his 40s at the time — were less offensive than the racist tweet that prompted Disney to fire Roseanne Barr from “Roseanne” in May. (Ms. Barr wrote on Twitter on July 24, “I’m disgusted to read all of the support for James Gunn’s pedophile jokes.”)
Working for Disney, which primarily focuses on family entertainment, is also not the same as working for another Hollywood studio.
Still, the movie industry has long tolerated vulgar comments and behavior — particularly from its creative ranks. As the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have taken hold over the past year, and as studios have moved to an aggressive zero-tolerance behavioral policy as a result, some people are starting to contemplate what constitutes a proper response.
Over the weekend, for instance, Terry Press, the president of CBS Films, ruminated on the topic on her Facebook page after The New Yorker published an article in which several women accused Leslie Moonves, CBS’s chief executive, of sexual misconduct in decades past.