(LOS ANGELES) -- In a unified message posted to their social media pages, the stars of Guardians of the Galaxy -- Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Pom Klementieff and brother Sean Gunn -- have rallied in support of their ousted director James Gunn.
The filmmaker behind the first two blockbuster Guardians movies was recently fired from Volume 3 by Marvel Studios parent company Disney, after offensive old tweets of his were unearthed.
The firing sent shockwaves through Hollywood, and fans started a petition to ask Disney -- Marvel and ABC News' parent company -- to reinstate him.
This newest post from the film's stars begins, "To our friends and fans: We fully support James Gunn."
The lengthy message continues, in part: "We were all shocked by his abrupt firing last week and have intentionally waited these days to respond in order to think, pray, listen, and discuss."
They say "being in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies has been a great honor in each of our lives. We cannot let this moment pass without expressing our love, support, and gratitude for James."
"We are not here to defend his jokes of many years ago," but, they add, "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, now and from years ago when first addressing these remarks, we believe is from the heart, a heart we all know, trust, and love," the letter states. "We believe the [movie's] theme of redemption has never been more relevant than now."
The message concludes with a hope that, "what has transpired can serve as an example for all of us to realize the enormous responsibility we have to ourselves and to each other regarding the use of our written words."
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