Same-sex kiss cut from Pixar’s Lightyear reinstated after Disney’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill backlash
A same-sex kiss cut from Pixar’s Toy Story prequel Lightyear has been reinstated after backlash over Disney’s response to Florida’s terrifying ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
Disney has faced international criticism over its its political donations to Republicans pushing the bill, which would ban LGBT+ topics in classrooms, and for its lack of action in opposing the bill, prompting employee walk-outs and protests.
Earlier this month, in an open letter addressed to Disney management, LGBT+ Pixar employed addressed the lacklustre response to the bill, and accused Disney of cutting “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection” from their films.
According to Variety, one of these moments was a same-sex kiss in Pixar’s upcoming film Lightyear, a Toy Story prequel that stars Chris Evans as Buzz Lightyear.
A character named Hawthorne, voiced by Uzo Aduba, is in a same-sex relationship in the film, but according “a source close to the production”, a kiss between the two characters was axed.
But following the Pixar employee’s open letter, and amid discussion on how supportive Disney really is of the LGBT+ community, the kiss has reportedly been reinstated.
If the kiss is included, Lightyear, which will be the first Pixar animated film to be released in cinemas since 2019, could mark a huge turning point for the studio.
Its films to date have featured just a handful of fleeting and ambiguous LGBT+ moments, for example the 2020 film Onward, in which a cyclops cop voiced by lesbian actor Lena Waithe briefly mentions her girlfriend. Even this scrap of representation was enough to get the film banned in several Middle Eastern countries.
Following Disney’s deafening silence of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, CEO Bob Chapek eventually apologised for the company’s response.
He announced that he had temporarily paused all political donations and would donate $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign. However, the LGBT+ rights charity refused the donation, demanding “meaningful action” against the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
But the open letter for LGBT+ Pixar staff indicated that problems ran much deeper than the response to the bill.
“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 read. “
“Nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest. [Even] when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar… Even if creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it.”