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Pixar Employees Accuse Disney of Censoring Gay Affection in Films

An open letter calls the company out for its "hollow" support of the LGBTQIA+ community

pixar letter disney censorship gay affection content in films out short lgbtqia characters florida don't say gay bill
Disney/Pixar’s Out (Disney+)
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    A group of Pixar employees have banded together to accuse Disney of censoring same-sex affection in its movies.

    “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 LGBTQIA+ animators and their allies wrote in an open letter obtained by Variety. “Nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest, regardless of 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. Beyond the “inspiring content” that we aren’t even allowed to create, we require action.”

    The group’s claims are in direct response to Disney’s public messaging surrounding Florida’s Parental Rights in Education legislation — colloquially known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill — which was just passed in the state’s Senate and House this week.

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    The House of Mouse initially came under fire when it was revealed that Disney made corporate political contributions to several of the politicians who sponsored the bill while also capitalizing each year off the LGBTQIA+ community with its rainbow-themed Pride collections and marketing campaigns.

    At first, Disney released a statement condemning the bill while refraining from taking any kind of substantive action. When that move received significant backlash, the media giant issued a follow-up memo pledging to meet with Florida governor Ron DeSantis and donate $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign.

    “We are calling on Disney leadership to immediately withdraw all financial support from the legislators behind the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, to fully denounce this legislation publicly, and to make amends for their financial involvement,” the Pixar letter continued. “While signing on to donate to the HRC is a step in the correct direction, the shareholder meeting on Wednesday made it clear that this is not enough.

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    “Throughout the shareholder meeting, Disney did not take a hard stance in support of the LGBTQIA+ community, they instead attempted to placate ‘both sides’ – and did not condemn hateful messages shared during the question and answer portion of the meeting. This is not what it means to ‘unequivocally stand in support of our LGBTQ+ employees, their families, and their communities.’

    Throughout its profitable history, there are but a few LGBTQIA+ characters in the catalog of Disney/Pixar’s family-friendly films. Cyclops policewoman Office Specter in 2020’s Onward makes reference to her “girlfriend” in one of her few speaking lines, while Pixar also released the short Out that same year, which features the story of a gay man coming out to his parents. Toy Story 4 and Finding Dory each included a pair of lesbian mothers in the background of scenes as well.

    To read the Pixar letter in its entirety, click here.

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