An Anti-Gay Mindset
Some workers of Disney’s animation production studio Pixar have stated that the corporate executives of its parent business Disney habitually block LGBT storylines as discussion over Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say, Gay,” Bill heats up. Protests about the censoring have gone unheeded, according to an anonymous Pixar staff letter. The charges have elicited no official response from Disney or Pixar.
The letter was sent in reaction to Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s memo from earlier this week. The message was sent in response to the contentious Florida law, which has been widely criticized as discriminating against the LGBTQ population.
The letter was signed by leadership from the LGBTQIA+ Employees of Pixar & Their Allies, according to Entertainment Weekly. “We at Pixar have personally observed magnificent tales, full of different characters, returned from Disney corporate evaluations whittled down to crumbs of what they once were,” the statement said. Protests from the creative department and even Pixar executives, according to the letter, were ineffective. “Nearly every scene of blatantly gay affection is deleted at Disney’s request, despite protests from both Pixar’s creative staff and senior leadership,” it continued.
Pixar was founded in 1979 and has since created films such as Toy Story, Up, Finding Nemo, and Soul, among others. It was bought by Disney in 2006 for roughly $7.4 billion. Since then, it has been run as a Disney subsidiary. Out, a short film about a homosexual guy discovering love was released in 2020. This was the movie studio’s first time working on a film with an LGBTQ character.
The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ measure, which was just approved, aims to restrict discussions about gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through grade three, or, in a way that is not age-appropriate or psychologically suitable for pupils in line with state standards.
The letter reads, “We at Pixar have personally observed wonderful tales, full of varied people, come back from Disney corporate evaluations chopped down to crumbs of what they once were.” “Even if generating LGBTQIA+ content was the solution to changing the world’s unjust policies, we are prohibited from doing it.”
In his email, Chapek wrote that a previous meeting with a small group of LGBTQ+ Disney executives had been “meaningful, illuminating, and at times deeply moving,” but that he was hesitant to speak out publicly against the Florida bill because corporate assertions “do very little to change outcomes or minds” and are “often weaponized by one side or another to further split and inflame.”
In a statement, Pixar workers argued Chapek’s remark was “completely incorrect,” citing other occasions where Disney words had made a difference, notably in Georgia in 2016, when the corporation threatened to “move somewhere” if the contentious Religious Liberty bill was passed into law.
Chapek pledged to contribute $5 million to LGBTQ+ groups after speaking out against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, including the Human Rights Campaign, which warned on Wednesday it would not accept the money from Disney till “real action” is made.
The Disney CEO also met with DeSantis to voice the business’s “disappointment and worry that if the proposal becomes law, it might be utilized to unfairly target gay, lesbian, nonbinary, and transgender children and families,” according to the company.
Pixar has only incorporated a handful of LGBTQ characters in their feature films to date, the most notable of which being a cyclops patrol officer named Specter, voiced by Lena Waithe, in the 2020 fantasy picture “Onward.” “It’s not easy becoming a new parent — my girlfriend’s daughter has me tearing my hair out, okay?” Specter adds in passing about the character’s sexuality. However, because of the sequence, the film was still prohibited in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, and the term “girlfriend” was replaced with “partner” in the Russian version.
The same year, Pixar published “Out,” a short film about a homosexual guy who tries to come out to his parents, on Disney Plus. (On March 11, Disney Plus will premiere the latest Pixar animated movie, “Turning Red.”)
The Accusation And The Response
The accusation of censorship by Pixar workers is pretty worrying for former CEO Robert Iger, who managed Disney’s acquisition of Pixar in 2006 and left the business only a few months ago in December 2021.
“HRC inspires Disney, and all hiring managers, to continue fighting for their employees – who most bravely spoke out to say their CEO’s quietness was unacceptable – and the LGBTQ+ community by partnering with us and state and local LGBTQ+ communities to ensure that this threatening anti-equality proposed measures that harm LGBTQ+ families and children have no place in Florida,” Madison said. “Every kid, regardless of who they are, deserves to be seen, and every child deserves an education to prepare them for health and success.” This should be the start, not the conclusion, of Disney’s lobbying efforts.”
That’s not something that can wait until April’s Reimagine Tomorrow or June’s Pride Month. This issue must be addressed right now. This is a critical situation. In 2021, 42 percent of LGBTQIA+ adolescents, including more than half of transgender and non-binary youth, seriously considered suicide, with a big component being the lack of help that these discriminatory laws permit. Disney professes to care about children’s wellbeing, yet by endorsing politicians like these, they are directly harming one of their most vulnerable populations. There are lives on the line, and Disney’s help might save them. Their email stated, “We still have work to do.” This is the result of that effort.