Chris Pratt and I are very similar. Hear me out.
The Avengers and Parks and Recreation superstar has been flogged online this week for his political and religious views.
No, the world has not also turned on me about my personal perspective. But where Pratt and I seem similar is that he doesn’t appear to be outspoken about what he believes. For someone with the megaphone of celebrity at his disposal, there’s not heaps of Pratt stuff out there about what he thinks on divisive issues such as presidential picks or same-sex marriages. Even though that’s precisely what the internet seems to be accusing him of.
Clearly, my celebrity status echoes a grain of sand on the beach of Pratt. I mean, since TV bingers the world over fell in love with him as goofball Andy in Parks and Recreation during the past decade, Pratt has become one of Hollywood’s most unlikely action men. From his Guardians of the Galaxy lead role to Jurassic World and The Avengers franchise, Pratt has the jokes, charm and swagger to pull in crowds.
He’s also known for filling his social feeds with stuff linked to his Christian faith – like Justin Bieber, just less so – while largely steering clear of scandals (except his publicised divorce from actress Anna Faris, and some other blow-ups which I’ll mention a bit later on).
So, yeah, me and Pratt operate in slightly different leagues. Obviously. But if you do a quick Google of me – go on, dare ya – it shall emerge that I’ve publicly declared controversial opinions about as often as Pratt. Or less.
The anti-Pratt movement this week boils down to his being accused of supporting a right-wing president, and that he is also anti-gay. Dig around some, though, and Pratt has not really proclaimed what he is being blasted for.
Oh, right, yeah – there’s one other piece to all this. So, the tirade of tweets against Pratt erupted from one re-tweet of a long-standing online “game”. For the past few years, you or I could participate in the “Chris Wars”. The four choices are Pratt, his Marvel Universe co-stars Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans, and Star Trek’s Chris Pine.
One has to go. pic.twitter.com/HUWnbQOA43
— Amy Berg (@bergopolis) October 17, 2020
The “Chris Wars”, while hardly a nice bit of internet guff, are actually not the meanest thing either. But when “Chris Wars” resurfaced in a “One has to go” challenge this week, it generated such a slew of Pratt pot-shots that even his wife, Katherine Schwarzenegger (yes, daughter of Arnie), and Marvel co-stars (such as Robert Downey Jr) have sprung to his defence.
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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… AND he just married into a family that makes space for civil discourse and (just plain fact) INSISTS on service as the highest value. If you take issue with Chris,,, I’ve got a novel idea. Delete your social media accounts, sit with your OWN defects of #character, work on THEM, then celebrate your humanness… @prattprattpratt I #gotyerbackbackback (📸 @jimmy_rich )
Downey Jr talked up Pratt’s Christian faith and had a go at those throwing stones. You could almost hear Pratt’s wife Katherine sigh with despair in her response: “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.”
The case against Pratt by the Twitter Jury included his attendance of Zoe Church in Los Angeles, which Juno star Ellen Page famously accused last year of being anti LGBTQ. “If you are a famous actor and you belong to an organisation that hates a certain group of people, don’t be surprised if someone simply wonders why it’s not addressed,” Page tweeted after Pratt was interviewed about his spirituality by Stephen Colbert. “Being anti LGBTQ is wrong, there aren’t two sides. The damage it causes is severe. Full stop. Sending love to all.”
As one does in this day and age, Pratt responded via another social channel. He Instagrammed: “It has recently been suggested that I belong to a church which ‘hates a certain group of people’ and is ‘infamously anti-LGBTQ.’ Nothing could be further from the truth.”
“I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone. Despite what the Bible says about divorce my church community was there for me every step of the way, never judging, just gracefully accompanying me on my walk. They 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.”
Earlier this month, Pratt was berated for having a go at celebrities urging Americans to vote in the forthcoming presidential elections. Mocking their earnestness in a post, he called on fans to vote … for his animated movie Onward in the Peoples Choice Awards.
Crickets could be heard, and cries of being “tone deaf” about a serious issue.
Pratt also was not part of a promotion this week for Joe Biden, where fans could virtually hang out with six Avengers star if they contributed to Biden’s campaign. Pratt’s social media accounts reveal he follows some conservative commentators such as Ben Shapiro and Fox News’ Bret Baier. And there’s also the bit where his father-in-law was a Republican Governor of California.
While many clearly add all this up to equate to ‘Pratt Says Vote Trump”, Pratt hasn’t actually spoken publicly about his political views – unlike his wife who is urging people to vote for Biden. In 2017, Pratt told Men’s Fitness: “You’re either the red state or the blue state, the left or the right … And maybe that’s something I’d want to help bridge, because I don’t feel represented by either side,” he said. “I don’t feel we have to be at war with each other like we are, and it’s just getting worse.”
As someone who finds it easier to stay silent on issues than dive into the conflict, my heart goes out to Pratt. I don’t really know what he believes about the things he is being shot down for, and I am struggling to see how it is that so many of my fellow humans are so confident they do.
As The Washington Post‘s Emily Yahr summed up: “If you don’t say anything and appear to have any conservative leanings, people will come to their own conclusions.”
The Pratt Smackdown doesn’t inspire me to want to speak up or out about anything I believe in that others might disagree with. There seems to be no room for such a thing as outrageous and offensive as … expressing a difference of belief or opinion. Or perhaps not even doing that at all, as the puzzling trial of Chris Pratt indicates.