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Chris Pratt Wasn’t Asked To Attend Biden Fundraiser With “Avengers” Cast, Director Says

In an interview with NowThis Thursday, director Joe Russo said Pratt “was not asked to participate because he was halfway across the world in the wrong time zone.” Social media has been rife with speculation this week about Pratt’s political views after the Russos and much of the cast reunited for a Biden fundraiser.

Chris Pratt attends the world premiere of Disney and Pixar's "Onward" at the El Capitan Theatre on February 18, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)
Chris Pratt attends the world premiere of Disney and Pixar's "Onward" at the El Capitan Theatre on February 18, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

The Russo Brothers want to clear the air about actor Chris Pratt, as his absence at a Biden fundraiser with much of the “Avengers” cast this week combined with prior speculation about his beliefs led many on social media to speculate that he may be a Trump supporter.

In an interview with NowThis Thursday, director Joe Russo said Pratt “was not asked to participate because he was halfway across the world in the wrong time zone.” Pratt has been in the UK filming “Jurassic World: Dominion.” Production was temporarily shut down in early October after the director reported “a few positive coronavirus tests on set,” but recently resumed.

“We thought it was important to defend Chris because he’s being chastised for an event that we organized,” Russo said. “But we easily would have asked him to participate, if he were here, and he were available for the event. So we felt that it was inappropriate that people were making assumptions about his politics, about who he is as a person, about his integrity, because they’re all false. And we can tell you that because we know him personally … and we know the truth.”

Pratt, who plays Star-Lord in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” worked with Joe and Anthony Russo in the blockbusters “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.”

The Russos held the Biden campaign fundraiser along with vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris and seven members of the “Avengers” cast on October 20. Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Rudd, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Zoe Saldana, and Robert Downey, Jr. all joined the virtual event to talk about the stakes of the 2020 election.

The social media maelstrom that ensued this week about Pratt and his supposed politics was partially a result of unfortunate timing. Given the number of famous Chrises in Hollywood — superhero movie stars Pratt, Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine are the four most often compared/contrasted — “Which Chris is the best Chris?” has become a lighthearted, recurring internet meme since at least 2014. (It used to be mostly lighthearted, anyway.)

The question reared its head again on Saturday when producer Amy Berg tweeted photos of the four Chrises and said, “One has to go.”

As Vox explained, “the internet went on doing what the internet does. It picked Pratt to go, overwhelmingly, with more than 10,000 replies.”

Why? Many of the replies — and previous discussion — have observed that Pratt appears to be more culturally conservative than the other Chrises, based on his public posts about police, the military, and his support of an evangelical Christian church. 

Actor Ellen Page tweeted in 2019 about Zoe Church after Pratt talked about joining the church on a talk show. “If you are a famous actor and you belong to an organization that hates a certain group of people, don’t be surprised if someone simply wonders why it’s not addressed. Being anti LGBTQ is wrong, there aren’t two sides.”

Pratt responded on Instagram and said that Zoe Church “opens their doors to absolutely everyone,” which is echoed on its website. According to Vox, “The church does not have an official position on any LGBTQ-related issues … [but the] church’s pastor, Chad Veach, produced a film that refers to ‘same-sex attraction’ as one form of ‘sexual brokenness,’ comparing it to a pornography addiction.”

Vox also noted that “Pratt’s political affiliation is a mystery. He rarely talks about politics in public, and public records show him donating to both Democrats and Republicans. Certainly he has never gone so far as to endorse Donald Trump. But as he’s grown more famous, he’s used more and more signifiers of conservatism in public,” linking to this piece from Jezebel.

It’s all been enough for many on the internet to conclude that Pratt is conservative, and maybe even a Trumper, especially when seven “Avengers” assembled to raise money for the Biden campaign — and Pratt was not among them.

The timing of the “worst Chris” meme going viral again, combined with the timing of the fundraiser, set off a social media firestorm wrought with speculation, as many then assumed that Pratt’s absence at the fundraiser meant he may actually support Trump after all. But that’s the notion that Joe Russo wants to dispel, as he said in the NowThis interview Thursday, explaining that Pratt wasn’t even invited to join. Many of the openly Biden-supporting Marvel actors have come to Pratt’s defense this week as well.

Ruffalo, the most politically progressive and outspoken cast member (he’s been a Bernie Sanders surrogate for many years), explained on Twitter that Pratt “is just not overtly political as a rule.”

Saldana, who plays Pratt’s love interest in the MCU, and Downey Jr., who was at Tuesday night’s fundraiser along with Saldana, have also defended Pratt on their social media accounts.

Before the NowThis interview, the Russo Brothers posted this statement on their Instagram story: "Chris Pratt is a good man who cares deeply about his family, friends, and co-workers. He has always shown incredible love and generosity to our crews, to his fans, to charities, and everyone he encounters. Normally, it is our policy not to engage in, or lend credence to, the toxic cycle of misinformation and false accusations that have become so prevalent on social media. However, we are disheartened by the animosity being directed at him. Perhaps if we were able to redirect this energy toward self-improvement, we might find a path to a better world..."

Joe Russo emphasized in the NowThis interview that the bigger story is the importance of voting Biden/Harris in the 2020 election.

“I don’t think anyone can sit this one out, really, the country is at stake,” he said. “There’s no other way to put it. And that was how we framed it to all our friends as well, when we put together the fundraiser, that no one can be sitting this one out.”

He continued with an allusion to the ongoing “controversy”: “Look, there are forces out there trying to make it toxic and difficult for people in our position, or actors, to voice their opinions and be heard, and it can make it complicated. And sometimes it can distract from the true message. So you have to be very careful about how you do it, but again, as I said, we’re standing on the edge of a cliff, if not hanging on by one hand at this point.”

The Russos also spoke about the legacy of Chadwick Boseman, the late actor who played the iconic Black Panther and who was a “dear friend” of Sen. Harris; whether Trump is worse than MCU supervillain Thanos; and why everyone should be involved in defending democracy during this election.

Video of the full interview will be posted soon here and on NowThis social media channels.