James Gunn made the mistake of reading the comments.
The Guardians of the Galaxy writer took to Twitter on Monday to defend a tweet shared by the film's star, Chris Pratt, to Kevin Smith after the Clerks filmmaker suffered a massive heart attack on Sunday night. In the tweet in question, Pratt wrote to the recovering Smith, "Kevin we don’t know each other too good but I have loved you since Clerks and I’m praying my ass off for you cause I believe in the healing power of prayer. Can you please pray with me people!?"
While many on Twitter spoke in favor of Pratt and called out the non-controversy for what it was, some did make a point to criticize the 38-year-old actor for his "thoughts and prayers"-style message.
"So I just read Chris Pratt’s tweet to Kevin Smith saying he would pray for him & made the mistake of reading the comments, many of which go off on Chris for saying he’d pray. I think people misunderstand the backlash against 'thoughts & prayers,'" Gunn wrote in a tweet thread. "There is nothing wrong with sending someone positive thoughts & prayers. But when this is coupled with inaction when action will benefit the situation, it’s empty."
Gunn went on to caution people against painting simple prayers tweets with the same brush as they do "empty tweets" from politicians after a mass shooting or natural disaster, citing specifically the recent Parkland tragedy at a Florida high school as well as the earthquake that struck Puerto Rico last year.
"If you’re offering Parkland shooting survivors prayers, but are unwilling to deal with the problems of gun violence in this country in a practical way, those prayers are empty," he explained. "And if you’re going to offer prayers to the folks suffering in Puerto Rico, you might consider adding a link for a donation or calling on your representatives to take action, in addition to those prayers. Prayers alone will not change the world.
"But no one expects Chris Pratt to shoulder doctors out of the way and perform heart surgery on Kevin Smith. Nor does Kevin need Chris to pay his medical bills. So I think his prayers are appreciated, and about all he can do," Gunn continued. "I’m not tweeting this to defend Chris - he’s a big boy and can take care of himself. But for me, personally, prayer and meditation are great boons to my life and help me navigate my way through this world, and I don’t want to dissuade others who find those things useful.
"I honestly would not be doing what I’m doing in either my career, or in speaking out on political matters, if I wasn’t led there through prayers and meditation. I feel lucky to have these tools," he added. "I don’t think that means YOU need to pray. I don’t. There are many ways to navigate this life. Mine is only one of them. Prayer isn’t for everyone but, in the face of helplessness, it’s often meant as a acknowledgement that one cares (and we all care about @ThatKevinSmith).
"If I am ever sick I will gratefully accept any of your thoughts and prayers," Gunn concluded. "And will not be as grateful for some random fan knocking down my doctor and performing his own brand of kick ass surgery on me. Love to you all. Have a great week."
See all the writer's tweets in the thread below.
After initially sharing the scary news, Smith went on Instagram on Sunday night to candidly offer more details.
"I was trying to do a killer standup special this evening but I might’ve gone too far. After the first show, I felt kinda nauseous. I threw up a little but it didn’t seem to help. Then I started sweating buckets and my chest felt heavy. Turns out I had a massive heart attack. The Doctor who saved my life at the #glendale hospital told me I had 100% blockage of my LAD artery (also known as “the Widow-Maker” because when it goes, you’re a goner)," he explained. "If I hadn’t canceled the second show to go to the hospital, the Doc said I would’ve died tonight. For now, I’m still above ground! But this is what I learned about myself during this crisis: death was always the thing I was most terrified of in life."
Smith went on to find the positivity in what he'd gone through.
"As I stared into the infinite, I realized I was relatively content. Yes, I’d miss life as it moved on without me - and I was bummed we weren’t gonna get to make #jayandsilentbobreboot before I shuffled loose the mortal coil. But generally speaking, I was okay with the end, if this was gonna be it. I’ve gotten to do so many cool things and I’ve had so many adventures - how could I be shitty about finally paying the tab. But the good folks at the Glendale hospital had other plans and the expertise to mend me. Total strangers saved my life tonight (as well as my friends @jordanmonsanto & @iamemilydawn, who called the ambulance)," he shared. "This is all a part of my mythology now and I’m sure I’ll be facing some lifestyle changes (maybe it’s time to go Vegan). But the point of this post is to tell you that I faced my greatest fear tonight... and it wasn’t as bad as I’ve always imagined it’d be. I don’t want my life to end but if it ends, I can’t complain. It was such a gift. #KevinSmith."
Not a bad outlook to have, Kevin (But we're still really happy you're OK, get well soon).
Pratt was one of many to reach out to Smith after he shared his hospitalization. Another person to offer his support was Dwayne Johnson, who tweeted, "Stay strong man. Let’s get u better. Grateful to read this tweet."
Meanwhile, the love and support Smith is receiving is not one-sided. In August 2016, Smith praised Shannen Doherty -- whom he directed in 1995's Mallrats -- for her bravery in her battle with cancer, saying, "You're my f**king hero."
Watch the video below for more.
Kevin Smith Shares Selfie From Hospital After Suffering Massive Heart Attack
'Clerks' Actress Lisa Spoonauer Dies at 44, Kevin Smith Pens Moving Tribute
EXCLUSIVE: Shannen Doherty Gets Major Praise From Kevin Smith on Her Cancer Battle: 'You're My F**king Hero'