Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images
Meaghan Kirby
February 26, 2018 4:02 pm

Early Monday morning, Chris Pratt took to Twitter to share his support for filmmaker Kevin Smith, who revealed he was recovering from a massive heart attack. But while Pratt’s tweets were likely not meant to be controversial, the Jurassic World actor sparked intense backlash after tweeting that he was “praying” for Smith.

The Clerks filmmaker shared on Facebook and Twitter very early Monday that he had just suffered a massive heart attack, which likely would have killed him if he hadn’t sought immediate medical attention. Accompanied by a selfie from the hospital, Smith revealed he had been set to perform two stand up shows in Glendale, but was rushed to the hospital between shows — the latter of which, was obviously canceled — after realizing he was having a heart attack.

Pratt quickly quoted tweeted Smith, sending his prayers to the Dogma writer-director and asking his followers to pray with him. He wrote, “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!?”

In a second tweet, the Guardians of the Galaxy star reiterated his original sentiments, tagging the football coach who first showed him Clerks.

Pratt’s tweets, specifically his “I believe in the healing power of prayer,” comment sparked a pretty intense reaction, which quickly descended into a debate surrounding medicine and medical professionals and the usefulness of prayer during recovery.

But as Pratt’s sending of prayers to Smith took on a life of its own, Pratt’s Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn commented on the wild debate that ensued in a thread of his own. While he tweeted that he wasn’t trying to defend Pratt, he pointed out how perplexed he was by the backlash. He said, “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.”

After citing scenarios, including the Parkland shooting and Puerto Rico’s continual need for relief following Hurricane Maria, in which prayers need to be coupled with action, tweeted that he didn’t think Pratt’s prayers for Smith’s recovery was inappropriate. He wrote, “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.”

Here’s Gunn’s full thread on Pratt’s backlash:

While Pratt’s language may have made people uneasy, it’s definitely safe to say he wasn’t intentionally slighting medicine, doctors, or nurses. As for Smith, he doesn’t seem to be perplexed at all by Pratt’s words, favoriting the actor’s first tweet sending prayers.

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