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Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista defends ousted director James Gunn

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Jul 21, 2018, 9:51 PM EDT (Updated)

The geek cinema landscape is still rattling from the surprise ouster of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 director James Gunn, who was fired by Disney over some years-old offensive tweets that were recently resurfaced. But now, at least one of his former stars is coming to his defense.

Dave Bautista, who starred as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, is defending Gunn as “one of the most loving, caring, good-natured people” he has ever met. He added Gunn is also “gentle and kind” and “cares deeply for people and animals.” Bautista adds that Gunn has clearly “made mistakes,” but said he is absolutely not okay with the way Gunn’s abrupt firing was handled.

Before being let go by Disney, Gunn had been polishing the script for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Since Bautista's speaking out against Gunn's firing, others have come to Gunn's defense on social media. Gunn's brother and fellow Guardians star Sean Gunn said in a 10-part Twitter thread: "I hope it goes without saying that I love and support my brother James. And I'm quite proud of how kind, generous, and compassionate he is with the people in his life, whether they are friends, family, colleagues, fans, or strangers."

On Instagram, actor David Dastmalchian (Ant-Man and the Wasp, The Dark Knight) wrote: "i’ve been saying this FOR YEARS! @jamesgunn is one of the most amazing people i’ve ever known - both professionally & personally. there are so many people in our lives that we would never have known without the incredible magnet of talent & goodness that is james (& his awesome partner in life, @jenniferlholland). thanks for making us a part of your family, buddy," next to a picture of him with Gunn (and Ant-Man director Peyton Reed). 

Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland had this to say on the subject: "Just so I don’t have to keep typing this over and over: I’m not defending his old jokes. Only read one anyway. It’s that he was fired over OLD tweets intended as (bad) jokes... it’s a crazy concept and I’m just saying: no more R rated jar jar binks movie. Im walking. Peace."

And comedian Patton Oswalt had this to say about who uncovered Gunn's old tweets in the first place: 

Gunn was fired by Disney after a series of crass, offensive tweets from around 2009-2012 resurfaced. The tweets included jokes about rape and pedophilia. Shortly before being fired, Gunn made a public apology for his comments and jokes, saying he is “very, very different than [he] was a few years ago,” and that he now tries to “root [his] work in love and connection and less in anger.”

Though it wasn’t exactly San Diego Comic-Con-related, Gunn’s firing has been one of the biggest stories from SDCC weekend. The director was actually scheduled to appear at a panel Friday evening, but dropped out once news of his firing was announced. The reaction has also been mixed on social media, with some praising Disney for making a hard decision, while others have criticized the studio for axing Gunn only after these years-old tweets were resurfaced by conservative journalists (Gunn has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump).

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is scheduled to open in 2020, though there’s no word yet on how production might be impacted by Gunn’s departure.

Additional reporting by James Comtois