Hollywood star Chris Pratt has faced backlash on Twitter this week for his attendance at an L.A. church and for not joining his fellow “Avengers” stars in a fundraiser for Joe Biden, fueling speculation that the worst of the worst could be true: He might think differently than his costars (how horrible!).
It all started as a bit of harmless fun, nothing more than a jovial meme, but some on Twitter have now escalated to calling for Pratt to be canceled for his beliefs — while at the same time, others are just as vociferously condemning the attacks. But the bottom line is that all this outrage is simply pointless, regardless of which side you’re on.
It is, of course, inexcusable behavior to post threatening or violent messages against someone, such as one since-deleted, expletive-laden post that suggested Pratt be “yeeted (thrown) off of every single cliff available.” Another user shared a clip of one of Pratt’s movie characters being bloodily beaten, saying in the caption that the fictional assailant “knew years ago what society needed to do with Chris Pratt” — and another replied with their hope that such an incident would occur this year in real life.
Pratt has kids, and seeing content like that online takes an emotional toll on a family. It’s also ridiculous to be outraged over people who simply have different beliefs than you do. Many users were upset that Pratt might be a Trump supporter. (We don’t know for sure; the closest evidence we have is that he follows some conservative users on Twitter.)
Others angrily resurfaced old claims that Pratt’s church is “infamously anti-LGBTQ,” saying he “radiates homophobic white christian supremacist energy” — but Pratt rebutted at the time that his church welcomes everyone. Why not instead call out governments that do seek to actively harm and oppress minority communities?
On the other side of the coin, though, are those who are outraged at the outrage. Figures like Ben Shapiro have commented on the incident, and some are saying it’s proof that we’re inching closer to “a 1984” dystopia. Like those attacking Pratt, these comments are just more hysteria.
For one, the vast majority of those saying Pratt “has to go” are not actually calling for his cancellation — they’re simply responding within the format of the meme, which asks respondents to lightheartedly “vote out” their least favorite of Hollywood’s superhero quartet of Chris-es (Pratt, Evans, Hemsworth and Pine).
For another, data shows that less than a quarter of Americans are on Twitter — and of those active on the platform, only 10% are responsible for 80% of its activity. The behavior seen on this particular Twitter topic — violent, censorial, lighthearted or otherwise — is hardly representative of the country we’re living in today. Why not instead express outrage at those who do perpetrate (sometimes lethal) violence against those they disagree with?
If this incident has proven anything, it’s that Pratt is ... actually a decent guy. His colleagues in the film industry have jumped to defend him, calling him “as solid a man there is,” a “real Christian who lives by principle, has never demonstrated anything but positivity and gratitude,” and “the best dude in the world.” Others say he “has always shown incredible love and generosity to our crews, to his fans, to charities and everyone he encounters” and that “everyone who’s ever crossed paths with (him) knows (his) heart and (his) worth.”
Plus, the fact that he regularly goes to church demonstrates a selfless discipline and a mentality that transcends material concerns like his fame and wealth. As his “Guardians of the Galaxy” director, who’s self-identified as “in some ways, anti-religion” noted, “I’ve spent hours & hours sharing my deepest truths with this man, as he has with me.” That speaks volumes about Pratt’s character.
Even if you disagree with Pratt’s beliefs or politics, shouldn’t we want more people in Hollywood whose character can be so categorically defended? Either way, at the end of the day, Pratt will go on guarding the galaxy and preventing jurassic disasters while we watch comfortably from our couches — logged out of Twitter.