Ego the Living Planet has chosen a side.
Kurt Russell has joined the growing list of celebrities defending James Gunn after Disney severed ties with the Guardians of the Galaxy director due to offensive tweets. Echoing the sentiments of the rest of the GOTG cast, Russell said he hopes the studio forgives the director.
"It’s sad, but it’s a part of our fabric now and I get it," Russell told Variety. “But I do think we’re getting a little too sensitive on maybe some of the wrong people. You have to realize that when you are in that world as a comedian, a writer, whatever, you’re always stretching the boundaries and trying to find something, which lead him to something that the world loves, which is Guardians of the Galaxy. He has a wonderful heart and a wonderful mind. I hope he is forgiven."
Last month, Gunn was given the boot after some old tweets that joked about rape and pedophilia were rediscovered. He's since apologized and said it was part of a "totally failed and unfortunate effort to be provocative." He has accepted Disney's decision, but clarified that the tweets "don’t reflect the person I am today or have been for some time."
Not long after, the core Guardians of the Galaxy cast — Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn, Pom Klementieff, and Michael Rooker — wrote an open letter standing up for the ousted director. The note called out Americans for "weaponizing mob mentality" and an increasing number of "character assassinations," which are becoming all too prevalent.
"There is little due process in the court of public opinion. James is likely not the last good person to be put on trial," the letter read.
It's still up for debate if firing Gunn was the right choice, but it seems unfair to put the blame on the public for being "too sensitive" and executing "character assassinations." At this time in history, tweets like Gunn's shouldn't be glossed over.
In recent years, "call out" or "cancel" culture is increasingly common, and it's not because people have started to become "too delicate" over "trivial matters." Instead, society is becoming more vocal about issues that anger us. In other words, we aren't going to sit and tolerate unacceptable behavior. Take Roseanne, for example. If people hadn't made the effort to express concern over her racism, the show probably would have continued to air — an outspoken racist would have been the star of a program that millions of Americans tune in for regularly.
I'm not discounting the fact that "calling out" prominent figures can be toxic. There are examples wherein fans have been too quick to jump to conclusions, which has adversely affected a person's reputation. Sure, we should make an effort to be more cautious about it. But in Gunn's case — one that involves appalling "jokes" about pedophilia — this reaction feels warranted.
Calling out influential people for their skewed ideologies isn't being "sensitive," it's being responsible. It's creating discourse and putting a stop to misaligned principles and, hopefully, that serves as a lesson to all.