Friday, Nov 16, 2018 | Last Update : 03:42 PM IST
In the old tweets, the 51-year-old director cracked crude jokes dealing with pedophilia and rape.
Thousands have signed an online petition asking Walt Disney Co to rehire "Guardians of the Galaxy" writer-director James Gunn, who was fired from the threequel.
The development came a day after a series of old offensive tweets made by the filmmaker resurfaced on social media.
In the old tweets, screenshots of which are available online, the 51-year-old director cracked crude jokes dealing with pedophilia and rape. The screenshots of Gunn's tweets, which ranged from 2009 through 2012, were shared by a conservative website The Daily Caller.
The petition, titled 'RE-HIRE JAMES GUNN' on website change.org was started by a Chandler Edwards, has gained over 30,000 signatures in Gunn's support.
Edwards writes he agrees that the studio had "full right" to sack the director from the job but the argument does not hold water as Gunn was not working for Disney when he had shared those tweets.
"I agree on the point that if people say a bunch of stupid shit while working for a studio, the studio has full right to fire him over the possible controversy. This situation is very different though as he made these jokes years before he was working for Disney and also the fact that they were jokes," the petition read.
Fellow director Joe Carnahan ("The Grey", "Smokin' Aces") also shared the petition on Twitter.
After being sacked, Gunn, who has been quite vocal in his criticism of US President Donald Trump, issued an apology on Twitter and claimed that he has changed over the years.
"It's not to say I'm better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it's shocking and trying to get a reaction are over," he said in another tweet.
The filmmaker also issued a statement where he "regretted" the tweets and stressed that "they don't reflect the person I am today".
Actor Dave Bautista, who plays Drax the Destroyer in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise, took to Twitter to defend the director.
"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. I'm not ok with what's happening to him," Bautista said.
David Dastmalchian, who played Kurt in "Ant Man" and its sequel, also came out in support of the filmmaker, calling Gunn "one of the most amazing people I've known".
"Guardians of the Galaxy" lead Chris Pratt, however, evaded questions related to Gunn during a Q&A session round for "The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part" at San Diego Comic-Con.
Gunn was in the middle of writing the script for the third film, which was scheduled to begin shooting in Atlanta in the fall for a 2020 release date.