The Weak Defense of Chris Pratt
In October, Twitter user Amy Berg tweeted:
The answer was clear for most: Pratt was the one to go. Many cited his connection to the homophobic Hillsong Church, that fact that he’s a republican, and the alleged molestation that happened at a party he and his wife hosted. Others just preferred Hemsworth, Evans, and Pine for their acting and looks. The discussion grew, and Pratt started trending on Twitter because of it.
Yes, it’s probably disheartening for Pratt to see himself trend on Twitter because a lot of people don’t like him. However, having your famous friends defend you almost a week after the fact, when everyone forgot about it already, doesn’t seem like the right move. Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Zoe Saldana, James Gunn, his wife Katherine Schwarzenegger, and other MCU costars came to his defense with Twitter and Instagram posts highlighting his “good character”.
The rallying of support for Pratt led to the discourse to be reawakened (why his PR team, who may have been behind this since all the support came on the same day, thought this was a good ideaーconsidering the amount of criticism that comes with being Twitter’s Person of the Dayーis beyond me). Ruffalo’s tweet was the strangest by far, and many took issue with it, especially considering the actor’s staunch liberal views.
Firstly, people have pointed out that it really doesn’t matter that Ruffalo knows him personally. Pratt’s defenders, including Ruffalo, repeatedly mentioned his “good character” when defending him. I don’t think being nice to people you’re friends with is a great indicator of if they’re a good person or not. Someone being a “good man” to his peers doesn’t negate the fact that they can do harm.
Others on Twitter have pointed out how Pratt follows PragerU and pundits Ben Shapiro, among other alarming Republican figures. Why is he following people who cause lots of trouble and hurt if he’s supposedly so good and sincere?
Secondly, Ruffalo says in his tweet that “this is a distraction”. A distraction from what? If he means the election, people are able to think about more than one thing at once. It’s also worth noting that every time someone points out “distractions” to political or social movements, it’s people pointing out that someone is bigoted, instead of the actual bigoted behavior. Ignoring this behavior creates a cycle of harm and doesn’t help anybody except the person doing that harm.
Speaking of harm, the most hypocritical part of the Chris Pratt Defense Train is that other actors in the MCU never got this much love and support when they were actually being threatened, bullied, and harassed. Brie Larson is the most notable example of this, since her name is still in the mouths of pressed fanboys for speaking out against inequality within the film critic community, the emphasis on Captain Marvel being a woman in the movie and its promotion (which, don’t get me wrong, the movie is pretty average and some of the dialogue is cringeworthy, but I don’t spend all of my time complaining about it on YouTube and attacking Larson’s character for it like other people). Only War Machine actor Don Cheadle has come to her defense against the incessant criticism she gets about how she acts and speaks.
Other MCU actors have been subject to hate like Larson. Zendaya, Anthony Mackie, Tessa Thompson, and others have had racist remarks about their casting in traditionally white roles thrown at them online. Yet, hardly any of their fellow actors have come to their defense, and definitely not as hard as they came for Pratt.
The lack of solidarity for the actors who have gotten far worse comments than people thinking they’re not as attractive as other actors reveals how hypocritical celebrities are when talking about standing up against discrimination. While those who defended Pratt were probably asked by his PR team to do it, much like what people assume happened when a bunch of celebrities defended Ellen DeGeneres after allegations of a toxic workplace were revealed, that begs the question: If famous people can be asked to defend their costar over trivial stuff like what happened here, why are they unable to defend another costar from actual discrimination and attacks?
This move from Pratt’s friends and coworkers only reawakened the criticism against him. It goes to show how celebrities, even while preaching for equality, will ignore the actually harmful attacks some get, only speaking up if it’s something as trivial as Pratt’s situation, preserving their careers, image, and the tight hold celebrity culture has on our society.