Avengers assemble, indeed.
Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. — who play the Hulk and Iron Man in the mega Marvel movies — and Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn are coming to the defense of Chris Pratt after the internet decided he's the worst of the "Hollywood Chrises."
It all started with a Twitter challenge posted on Oct. 17 asking which famous Chris "has to go" out of Pratt, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, or Chris Evans. As a result, Pratt trended on Twitter over the weekend, with many Twitter users citing his alleged political views or a claim last year that he supported a church with anti-LGBTQ views as reasons why he "has to go." (Pratt, who is not outspoken about his political beliefs but frequently refers to his religious ones, has denied the latter claim, saying his church is one "that opens their doors to absolutely everyone" and he is a man "who believes that everyone is entitled to love who they want free from the judgment of their fellow man.")
Responding to a Twitter user who suggested people were upset with Pratt because "he goes to a church that is openly homophobic," Gunn, who directed Pratt in the Guardians of the Galaxy films, wrote, "So do 98% of Christians, all Catholics, most Muslims & some Jews. I was a Catholic for years, hoping I could have a bigger impact working for gay rights from the inside. I eventually gave up. But it was a valid choice. & I applaud other non-bigots who do the same."
He continued, "Chris himself has openly stated the church he attends doesn’t reflect all of his personal views, and that he is a 'man who believes that everyone is entitled to love who they want.'"
"What a world... The 'sinless' are casting stones at my brother, Chris Pratt...," Downey Jr. wrote in support of his costar. "A real Christian who lives by principle, has never demonstrated anything but positivity and gratitude... AND he just married into a family that makes space for civil discourse and (just plain fact) INSISTS on service as the highest value."
"If you take issue with Chris,,, I’ve got a novel idea," he continued. "Delete your social media accounts, sit with your OWN defects of character, work on THEM, then celebrate your humanness... @prattprattpratt I #gotyerbackbackback."
What a world... The “sinless” are casting stones at my #brother, Chris Pratt... A real #Christian who lives by #principle, has never demonstrated anything but #positivity and #gratitude... AND he just married into a family that makes space for civil discourse and (just plain fact) INSISTS on service as the highest value. If you take issue with Chris,,, I’ve got a novel idea. Delete your social media accounts, sit with your OWN defects of #character, work on THEM, then celebrate your humanness... @prattprattpratt I #gotyerbackbackback (📸 @jimmy_rich )
A post shared by Robert Downey Jr. Official (@robertdowneyjr) on Oct 20, 2020 at 2:53pm PDT
Ruffalo added his thoughts to the discourse on Twitter, writing, "You all, @prattprattpratt is as solid a man there is. I know him personally, and instead of casting aspersions, look at how he lives his life. He is just not overtly political as a rule. This is a distraction. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize, friends. We are so close now."
In response to E! News' coverage of the discourse on Instagram, Pratt's wife Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt wondered in a comment if this is "really what we need."
"There’s so much going on in the world and people are struggling in so many ways," she continued. "Being mean is so yesterday. There’s enough room to love all these guys. Love is what we all need not meanness and bullying. Let’s try that."
Pratt's Guardians costar Zoe Saldana also tweeted in his defense with a quote from Tupac, writing, "No matter how hard it gets, stick your chest out, keep your head up and handle it. -Tupac. You got this @prattprattpratt . Your family, friends, colleagues & everyone who’s ever crossed paths with you knows your heart and your worth!"
Some fans have seen the support Pratt has received and pointed out that other Marvel stars such as Brie Larson, Zendaya, Tessa Thompson, and more did not receive the same support from their castmates when facing online harassment of their own.
"All these Marvel dudes were REAL quiet when Zendaya, Tessa Thompson, and Brie Larson were getting mercilessly harassed by dudebros, but Chris Pratt gets RIGHTFULLY called out on his bulls—, and they suddenly have a lot to say," one fan wrote.
Another added, "Let me get this right. Brie Larson was harassed by men for MONTHS. Zendaya was bullied for being MJ bc she’s biracial, Mackie was bullied for becoming Captain America and the Avengers were SILENT, but Chris Pratt gets called the 'worst' Chris and it’s Avengers Assemble?"
Pratt and the other Chrises have not yet weighed in on the matter.