Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista has defended James Gunn after the film’s director was fired over offensive tweets.

Gunn apologised after old tweets in which he appeared to joke about paedophilia and rape were unearthed and widely shared online.

He was removed by Disney on Friday as director of the franchise’s third instalment, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Bautista, who portrays Drax the Destroyer in the films, has taken to social media to say he is “not okay” with the decision to sack Gunn.

I will have more to say but for right now all I will say is [email protected] 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

— Dave Bautista (@DaveBautista) July 21, 2018
Bautista’s post has proved to be divisive on social media, with some people applauding the actor for his stance, while others were more critical.

On Reddit, Bautista was labelled “a genuinely good guy” in a popular post praising him for being “willing to stick his neck out and defend Gunn”.

Others called the attack “a politically motivated take-down” where “you can lose a lot for being critical of the president” – referencing Gunn’s accusation that the US leader committed “treason”.

But others disagreed.

One Twitter user asked why Gunn did not delete the tweets if he no longer agreed with them, while another said that his comments were not “funny or acceptable in any circumstances”.

he made “jokes” about raping kids and women, this isn’t funny or acceptable in any circumstances. People die because of things like this

— paula (@jaureguistooth) July 21, 2018

Bautista 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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