It’s not the first time that far-Left progressives have attempted to force Disney and Marvel to jettison Chris Pratt from its Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. It’s also not director James Gunn’s first rodeo with cancel culture, either. Having made a rare comeback from being canceled — thanks to support from Pratt and other Guardians cast members — Gunn has made it clear that he’s in no mood to pander to the pitchfork-and-torches social-media mob this time either, as HuffPo reported late Wednesday:
Responding to a viral tweet calling for Marvel to replace the actor with Patrick Wilson, Gunn said he would “never” oust Pratt, who is set to reunite with the director in a third “Guardians” film next year.
“For what? Because of your made-up, utterly-false beliefs about him? For something that someone else told you about him that’s not true?” Gunn wrote. “Chris Pratt would never be replaced as Star-Lord but, if he ever was, we would all be going with him.”
Pratt has fielded plenty of backlash in recent years over his rumored political affiliation ― he sparked controversy ahead of the 2020 presidential election for mocking the importance of voting. However, the actor has largely stayed out of the political fray, having previously said that he doesn’t feel represented by Democrats or Republicans.
He’s also come under fire for his past connections to churches that have a history of discriminating against the LGBTQ community.
That prompted efforts in 2019 and 2020 to push Pratt out of his popular role as Star-Lord, but Marvel and his colleagues stood up for Pratt at that time. Pratt followed up by accusing his critics of getting their facts incorrect. The intervening time hasn’t made the accusation any more amusing to Gunn, who ripped efforts to revive that accusation:
He isn’t. I know the church he currently goes to. Do you? (The answer is you don’t, but you heard from someone who heard from someone who heard from someone where he goes to church, so decided, “yeah, okay, I’ll believe this terrible thing I heard online about this celebrity!”)
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) April 25, 2022
Gunn knows better than most that this is the correct response to the social-media warriors behind cancel culture. Gunn got targeted by the Right’s version of the pitchfork-and-torches mob, mostly in a tit-for-tat effort in the larger culture wars. As I wrote at the time for The Week, Gunn made himself into such a target for participating in the canceling of Roseanne Barr:
The recent drama involving James Gunn provides a particular case in point. The director of the first two blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy films recently found himself booted from the third film by Disney for tweets he posted years ago about pedophilia, rape, 9/11, AIDS, and the Holocaust. Despite a series of apologies, he couldn’t stave off a pink slip. …
Two months ago, though, Gunn didn’t mind weaponizing the mob for his own purposes. He demanded that ABC fire Roseanne Barr after her offensive remarks about Valerie Jarrett, remarks for which Barr apologized repeatedly. “I wish some of these so-called defenders of liberty would start to understand what freedom of speech is AND isn’t,” Gunn lamented in a tweet he later deleted. “Roseanne is allowed to say whatever she wants. It doesn’t mean @ABCNetwork needs to continue funding her show if her words are considered abhorrent.” ABC is, of course, owned by Disney — the same company that makes the Guardians of the Galaxy films, and decided not to fund Gunn after his own “abhorrent” words.
Perhaps Gunn learned a valuable lesson. His refusal to concede an inch to the online mobs certainly reminds us of the real lesson of cancel culture — to reject it, and then ignore it. Only that way can we deny it any power. Kudos to Gunn this time for putting that into practice, and for HuffPo for highlighting it.
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