Dave Bautista hits out at Disney for “smear campaign” behind James Gunn’s sacking

"Guardians without James Gunn is not what I signed up for."

Guardians of The Galaxy star Dave Bautista has doubled down on his defence of director James Gunn, after he was controversially sacked by Disney last month.

Gunn was dismissed from the franchise’s third instalment in July, after old tweets after that saw him joking about paedophilia were brought to light by a prominent right-wing website.

As well as offering an extensive apology for his actions, Gunn has been extensively defended by the film’s cast – with stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista signing an open letter to Disney last month.

Now, he’s been defended once more by Dave Bautista after he hit out at Disney on Twitter.

The former WWE star, who plays Drax in the Marvel franchise, described Gunn’s dismissal as a “smear campaign.”

Responding to a fan, he wrote: “I will do what Im legally obligated to do but Guardians without James Gunn is not what I signed up for.

“GOTG w/o @JamesGunn just isn’t GOTG. Its also pretty nauseating to work for someone who’d empower a smear campaign by fascists #cybernazis . That’s just how I feel.”

Last month, Bautista also retweeted an article by The Hollywood Reporter suggesting Disney’s decision has “hurt Hollywood”.

“And then some! Never make a mistake! Don’t have a sense of humour! Don’t be politically outspoken! Etc, fucking etc!!!” he ranted.

Bautista’s latest comments come after Gunn received backing from Kurt Russell – who starred as Ego in 2017’s Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 2.

He told Variety: “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.”

Despite facing widespread calls to reinstate Gunn, Disney are yet to announce Gunn’s replacement.

Guardians of The Galaxy: Volume 3 is set for release in 2020.