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Petition asks to restore James Gunn as 'Guardians 3' director after firing

James Gunn at the 9th annual Governors Awards

James Gunn at the 9th annual Governors Awards in Los Angeles in 2017. Credit: AP / Invision / Jordan Strauss

An online petition to have Disney reinstate filmmaker James Gunn on "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" has amassed more than 316,000 signatures in six days, making it one of most-signed petitions at as it continues to collect 13,000 to 15,000 a day.

Initiator Chandler Edwards states in the petition, "I'm smart enough to know this most likely won't change anything but hopefully, this could get Disney to realize the mistake they made and not do it again in the future."

Actress Selma Blair and "Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise star Dave Bautista have shared the petition on social media, as has filmmaker Joe Carnahan (2011's "The Grey," 2006's "Smokin' Aces").

Gunn was fired on July 20 from the franchise after having written and directed two "Guardians of the Galaxy" blockbusters for Disney's Marvel Studios, when offensive jokes in years-old tweets surfaced. The filmmaker has apologized for the since-deleted posts.

Edwards, saying he agrees that objectionable speech made while working for a studio can be grounds for dismissal, argues that Gunn's comments were made "years before he was working for Disney" and were not "an opinion or a statement" but "just a bad attempt at being funny."

On Thursday,  "Star Wars" franchise director Rian Johnson deleted thousands of tweets, prompting speculation of a directive from Disney. "No official directive at all," Johnson responded, "and I don't think I’ve ever tweeted anything that bad. But it's nine years of stuff written largely off the cuff as ephemera, if trolls scrutinizing it for ammunition is the new normal, this seems like a 'why not?' move."

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