Gunn apologised after old tweets in which he joked about paedophilia and rape were unearthed and widely shared online.
Amid the outrage generated by the disclosure, he was immediately removed by Disney on Friday as director of the franchise’s third instalment, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
But Bautista, who portrays Drax the Destroyer in the franchise, has taken to social media to say he is “not okay” with the decision to sack Gunn, whom he describes as “loving, caring and good natured”.
I will have more to say but for right now all I will say is this..@JamesGunn is one of the most loving,caring,good natured people I have ever met. He’s gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He’s made mistakes. We all have. Im NOT ok with what’s happening to him
And his tweet has sparked further debate on social media, with some people applauding the actor for his stance, while others were less empathetic.
The former WWE star is not the only Hollywood actor to have spoken out in defence of Gunn.
David Dastmalchian, who plays Kurt in the Marvel Ant-Man films, previously worked with Gunn on his 2016 horror-thriller The Belko Experiment.
Though he did not directly address the controversy, he posted a picture of himself with Gunn on Instagram and called the director “one of the most amazing people I’ve ever known”.
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i’ve been saying this FOR YEARS! @jamesgunn is one of the most amazing people i’ve ever known – both professionally & personally. there are so many people in our lives that we would never have known without the incredible magnet of talent & goodness that is james (& his awesome partner in life, @jenniferlholland). thanks for making us a part of your family, buddy.