Pixar Employees Claim Disney Censors Same-Sex Affection in Films
A group of LGBTQIA+ employees at Pixar and their allies have released a statement describing their parent company’s unwillingness to depict openly gay characters in their movies. According to Variety, the group claims that Disney removes “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection ... regardless of when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar.”
This news comes hot off the heels of Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s company-wide memo sent on Monday, which addressed the “Don't Say Gay” bill that was recently passed in Florida. Chapek wrote that the “biggest impact” the company can make “in creating a more inclusive world is through the inspiring content we produce.” But the new letter from these Pixar employees is at direct odds with this statement. Apparently, they have been fighting for more LGBTQIA+ representation in Pixar films, only to have those elements left at the drawing board.
“We at Pixar have personally witnessed beautiful stories, full of diverse characters, come back from Disney corporate reviews shaved down to crumbs of what they once were,” the letter reads. “Even if creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it.”
Throughout Pixar’s illustrious history, there has only been a scant amount of openly LGBT characters. In 2020’s Onward, Lena Waithe voiced a cyclops police officer who makes a passing comment about her sexuality by referring to her girlfriend’s daughter. As subtle as that was, the scene still caused the movie to be banned in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia — and the word girlfriend was changed to “partner” in the Russian release.
The most prominent example of LGBT representation in a Pixar title is actually the short film “Out,” which was released on Disney+ in 2020. With a runtime of 9 minutes, the animated short follows a gay man who struggles to come out to his parents — until his mind is magically switched with his dog’s.
Ultimately, the letter from these Pixar employees urges Disney to withdraw financial support of all legislatures who reported the “Don't Say Gay” bill, and take a "decisive public stand” against the legislation. You can read the entire statement here.