Over the weekend, Chris Pratt had to deal with people on Twitter calling him the “worst Hollywood Chris,” but as the week’s progressed, the “Guardians of the Galaxy” star has become the red-hot focus of a cultural debate about his suspected conservative politics and religious beliefs, as well as anger over the 2020 presidential election, anti-LGBTQ politics and straight rich white male movie stars throwing around their “privilege.”

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR..L to R: Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Drax (Dave Bautista), Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) (Marvel Studios 2018) 

That’s in part due to Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr., his “Avengers” franchise co-stars, thinking it would be helpful to go on social media Tuesday and righteously lecture their millions of fans about how Pratt is really a good guy who is deserving of Christian charity, tolerance and consideration of what’s really important in the world right now.

In their social media defense of Pratt, Ruffalo and Downey joined Pratt’s wife, Hollywood royalty Katherine Schwarzenegger, who lamented on Instagram: “There’s so much going on in the world and people are struggling in so many ways. Being mean is so yesterday.”

Downey ripped into Pratt’s critics on Instagram, writing: “What a world… The “sinless” are casting stones at my #brother, Chris Pratt. A real #Christian who lives by #principle, has never demonstrated anything but #positivity and #gratitude. … Delete your social media accounts, sit with your OWN defects of #character, work on THEM, then celebrate your humanness.”

Ruffalo added more gently on Twitter: “You all, @prattprattpratt is as solid a man there is. I know him personally, and instead of casting aspersions, look at how he lives his life. He is just not overtly political as a rule.”

Instead of winning people to their view that Pratt is an unfair target of cancel culture, Downey, Ruffalo and Pratt’s other “Avengers” defenders only seemed to give people more reasons to be suspicious of their friend and to dislike him even more.

People’s stated concerns about Pratt center on: 1) His well-known reluctance to talk about his possibly conservative politics, even though he has famously political in-laws (Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver) who, with his wife, Katherine, have expressed strong anti-Trump views; and 2) his association with Hillsong, a celebrity-friendly evangelical church whose leaders have espoused anti-LGBTQ views in the past.

Brie Larson, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Don Cheadle speak onstage during Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Endgame” Global Junket Press Conference at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown on April 7, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney) 

Pratt has faced criticism before for his association with Hillsong after Ellen Page called it “infamously anti-LGBTQ” in 2019. While Pratt publicly defended the church for welcoming people “regardless of sexual orientation, race or gender,” the Daily Beast and other outlets reported that the pastor at Pratt’s local branch of Hillsong produced a film that equated homosexuality with “sexual brokenness” and that Hillsong has a lengthy history of gay conversion therapy and refusing leadership roles to LGBTQ people.

Certainly, some agreed with Ruffalo and Downey that’s wrong to judge people for their politics or religious faith. Many others praised them coming to the defense of a friend, but also took issue with them for using their global platform to defend someone who is rich and famous like them.

“Chris Pratt isn’t ‘canceled,” tweeted Sam Vincenty, a senior writer at Oprah magazine. “He’s gainfully employed and by all optics has a thriving family life! This reads as surprisingly tone deaf. Non famous and non rich people are allowed to have harmless personal opinions in a pandemic.”

Others accused Ruffalo and Downey of showing no concern for regular people who they say could be harmed by his politics or his church.

“I get that he’s your co-worker and friend,” one user tweeted to Ruffalo, who is very outspoken about his liberal politics and anti-Trump activism. “(But) he supports a church that promotes homophobia. Also, it’s a huge privilege to not be ‘political’ right now. Most of us don’t have a choice because we’re fighting to protect our rights, health, livelihoods, and lives.”

Another user @Jezi_Belle added to Ruffalow: “Your heart is in the right place Mark, but you’re still a wealthy white man, and the ability to be friendly with someone whose ‘political beliefs’ are counter to others’ freedoms and existence is an incredible privilege. Be friends with who you want, but no one owes it to him.”

Fans of Marvel films also criticized the actors for taking a very public stand for a male co-star but apparently never speaking up for female co-stars, including Brie Larson, who became targets for daily cyberbullying and death threats.

“And where were you when Brie Larson was getting ruthlessly attacked for months by millions of men online with death threats and constant harassment simply for existing?” someone asked Downey.

“Imagine if the Avengers cast jumped to defend Brie Larson, Zendaya and Tessa Thompson after they all received sexist/racist abuse as fast as they’ve defended Chris Pratt for being called the worst Chris,” someone replied to Ruffalo. 

Among those pointing out this gender double-standard was Amy Berg, the filmmaker whose joking tweet over the weekend, asking which Chris “has to go,” started the whole brouhaha. Over the years, people have jokingly debated online which male star with the first name Chris (Chris Pratt, Chris Pine, Chris Hemsworth, or Chris Evans) is “the best” or “the worst.”

On Tuesday, Berg expressed dismay that her tweet had turned into “a hate-filled (expletive) on both sides.”

“The only thing I will say is that I wish all those coming to (Christ Pratt’s) defense had showed up for Brie Larson,” Berg added.

Ruffalo and Downey’s defense of Pratt happened to come the same day that Ruffalo and other Avenger co-stars — not including Pratt and Downey — participated in a virtual fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, People reported. The other actors participating in the event were Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Zoë Saldana and another “Hollywood Chris,” Chris Evans.

See source