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Kurt Russell Defends ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Director James Gunn: ‘We’re Getting a Little Too Sensitive’

Kurt Russell, Defend, James Gunn, Rape, Pedophilia
Kurt Russell attends the UK screening of 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' at Eventim Apollo in London, United Kingdom on April 24, 2017.Ian West/PA Images/

Kurt Russell is adding his voice to the chorus of Guardians of the Galaxy stars supporting former writer and director James Gunn. The actor came to the director’s defense in an interview with Variety on Saturday, August 4.

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“It’s sad. But it’s a part of our fabric now and I get it,” Russell, who played Ego the Living Planet in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, said while referencing the growing accountability being established. “But I do think we’re getting a little too sensitive on maybe some of the wrong people.”

Russell added, “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 [will] 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.”

Kurt Russell, James Gunn, Defend, Rape, Pedophilia
Kurt Russell and James Gunn attend SiriusXM’s Entertainment Weekly Radio Channel Broadcasts From Comic-Con 2016 at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego on July 22, 2016 in San Diego, California. Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Gunn, 51, who wrote and directed the first two films of the franchise, was fired from the third installment on July 20 after tweets he posted in 2008 and 2009 regarding rape and pedophilia resurfaced.

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Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn released a statement to Us Weekly that same day: “The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him.

A day before his firing Gunn took to social media to make a public apology.

“I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger,” he tweeted on July 19. “My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over. In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies. … I don’t blame my past self for this, but I like myself more and feel like a more full human being and creator today.”

The director had previously announced in a Facebook post that he was set to write and direct the third film.

In the wake of his firing, a slew of celebrities such as Selma Blair and Sarah Silverman took to social media with a petition to reinstate Gunn’s role in the franchise.

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The movie’s cast — including stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel — penned an open letter of support on July 30. “We fully support James Gunn,” they wrote in the letter posted to their social media accounts. “We are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago but rather to share of experience having spent many years together on set making Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2. The character he has shown in the wake of his firing is consistent with the man he was every day on set, and his apology … we believe is from the heart, a heart we all know, trust, and love.”

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