Petition to Rehire James Gunn for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ Reaches 200,000 Signatures

James Gunn at the opening of the Guardians of The Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! ride

James Gunn | Richard Harbaugh/Getty Images

A petition calling for James Gunn to be rehired as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has now earned 200,000 signatures.

This Change.org petition was launched shortly after Disney announced Friday that it had cut ties with Gunn due to resurfaced offensive jokes he had posted on his Twitter account years earlier. The backlash to this decision quickly began to gain steam, with this petition earning 50,000 signatures by Sunday morning.

But the petition gained even more traction on Monday, climbing to 200,000 signatures by the afternoon. With new signatures flowing in at a consistent rate, it shows no sign of slowing down.

It’s not uncommon to see a petition launched in support of a controversial figure after their firing; there were Change.org petitions calling on ABC to rehire Roseanne Barr, after all. But the size and scale of the Gunn firing backlash has been truly remarkable. For comparison, the most popular Change.org petition in support of Roseanne Barr earned less than 5,000 signatures.

Hundreds of thousands of Marvel fans are speaking up in support of Gunn, but it’s not just them. Gunn’s colleagues are also rallying behind him, with almost every member of the Guardians of the Galaxy cast releasing a supportive statement; not a single major star has distanced themselves from him.

Indeed, Dave Bautista has been quite vocal all through the weekend, saying on Twitter that he’s not okay with what happened to Gunn. He wrote on Sunday, “What happened here is so much bigger then G3, @JamesGunn ,myself, @Disney etc. This was a #cybernazi attack that succeeded. Unless we start to unite together against this crap, whether people are offended are not! …it’s going to get much worse. And it can happen to anyone.”

Bautista also shared this Change.org petition to his 1.1 million followers, as did actress Selma Blair. She wrote on Sunday, “Because if people are punished despite changing, then what does that teach people about owning mistakes and evolving? This man is one of the good ones.”

James Gunn | Marvel Studios

The decision to fire Gunn was certainly a quick one. On Thursday evening, right-wing provocateur Mike Cernovich dug through the director’s Twitter history to find some offensive jokes he had posted many years earlier, which were made prior to his hiring as director of the first Guardians of the Galaxy. Cernovich did so as a way of striking back against Gunn, who frequently criticizes Donald Trump.

Less than 24 hours later, Disney announced it would be severing all ties with Gunn, meaning he would no longer write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 as planned. Gunn had recently completed the screenplay for that movie, which was to begin shooting in early 2019 for a summer 2020 release.

The reaction to this decision among those in Hollywood has been almost universally negative; in addition to those who work for Marvel, celebrities far and wide have been criticizing Disney’s move, including Hercules voice actor Bobcat Goldthwait, who recently encouraged Disney to remove his voice from an upcoming theme park attraction.

Goldthwait wrote on Instagram, “You see here’s the deal, years ago I made a lot of sarcastically shocking and offensive jokes. Many that I’m embarrassed about now, and I’d hate to make you guys look bad seeing that I’m openly critical of the president and his administration, and you seem to be taking your lead from some of his radical fringe supporters.”