Recently, the Avengers assembled behind a mutual cause – not to defeat Thanos – but to defend Chris Pratt from a popular meme. The meme in question was posted by filmmaker Amy Berg, who tweeted pictures of the infamous Chrises – Hemsworth, Pine, Evans and Pratt – with the caption “One has to go.”
An onlooker may struggle to differentiate among the white handsomenesses, but the comments under the thread unanimously chose Pratt as the worst Chris, and the war ensued.
For those not familiar with the backlash, Pratt is associated with churches that have promoted anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric. He has attended services at a church that encouraged members to vote against marriage equality in Australia in 2017. To top it off, the pastor at Pratt’s regular church was the executive producer for a film that portrayed homosexuality as “sexual brokeness”.
Pratt responded predictably with a vague sentiment of support that failed to explicitly mention LGBTQ+ people.
"(My church) helped me tremendously offering love and support. It is what I have seen them do for others on countless occasions regardless of sexual orientation, race or gender,” said Pratt about his divorce experience.
He also said, “I am a man who believes that everyone is entitled to love who they want free from the judgment of fellow man.”
The saga continued when a few days later a group of Marvel stars attended a fundraiser for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign without – you guessed it – Pratt, according to The Cut. But, it wasn’t specified why Pratt’s name wasn’t listed or whether he had been invited in the first place. Nonetheless, Pratt’s political views have remained unclear, leading people to speculate that he might be Republican.
It doesn’t end there. Pratt’s Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) co-stars rallied to defend Worst Chris. Mark Ruffalo, who was first in line, said, “He is just not overtly political as a rule. This is a distraction. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize, friends. We are so close now.” Next up was Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr., who didn't hold back in his Instagram post.
“The 'sinless' are casting stones at my #brother, Chris Pratt ... A real #Christian who lives by #principle,” said Downey. “(Pratt) just married into a family that makes space for civil discourse." He went on to encourage those who have an issue with Pratt to delete their social media and sit with their own “defects.”
Responding to an E! News Instagram post asking “Which Hollywood Chris is the best?”, Pratt’s wife and author Katherine Schwarzenegger said, “Is this really what we need? There’s so much going on in the world and people struggling in so many ways. Being mean is so yesterday.”
James Gunn, director of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and Zoë Saldaña joined the cacophony of defenses as well.
These praises, though, don’t directly address the claims that Pratt doesn’t support the LGBTQ+ community or their rights. Being a nice person doesn’t eliminate one from holding homophobic views. It’s striking that Pratt’s inner circle weighed in to shut down justified backlash, which contrasts the lack of support toward Brie Larson when she was criticized for starring as a female superhero.
Trolls and cynical reviewers rejected Larson’s performance without having watched it, making their sexism loud and clear. This is a recurring pattern in Hollywood. When a female artist or actor finds themselves trapped in misogyny, their male counterparts do little to show support or call out the double standards.
They benefit from the intrinsic sympathy people have for powerful white men. When you resist being called out for bigotry but won’t stand up against sexism in the MCU, what does that say about you? Pratt may not be anti-LGBTQ+, but supporting churches that exhibit such views isn't allyship either.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I shall return to my Chris Hemsworth / Pine obsession.