Pixar staff claims Disney censors LGBTQ+ affection in films

Some employees at Pixar wrote a letter shedding light on their creative collaborations with Disney.

A number of Pixar employees have published a letter claiming Disney censors LGBTQ+ content, just after it was revealed that the entertainment giant financially backed sponsors of Florida’s recently passed “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

According to the letter from LGBTQ+ Pixar employees and their allies, Disney has censored “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection,” per a Variety report.

World Premiere Of Disney and Pixar's “Luca”
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 17: A view of the marquee at the world premiere for LUCA, held at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on June 17, 2021. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

For weeks now, all eyes have been on Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which the Florida Senate passed this week. Designed to essentially halt any discussion of gender expression or sexual orientation in schools, its critics have warned of the dangers the bill will present for LGBTGQ+ youth, many of whom depend on their schools as a safe space for them to express themselves.

Disney, behind arguably the strongest children’s entertainment programming in the world, also came under fire as the bill continued to gain steam in the sunshine state, due to its financial affiliation with supporters of it.

While Disney CEO Bob Chapek sent a memo earlier this week addressing Disney’s response (or lack thereof) to the bill, it seemed to only make matters worse for critics of the company. In the memo, Chapek claimed the company’s biggest impact can be “creating a more inclusive world” through the “inspiring” content Disney produces.

The new statement from employees of Pixar, however, highlighted the various ways in which specific aspects of that “inspiring” content are often censored.

Disney Studios Showcase Presentation At D23 Expo, Saturday August 24
(L-R) Writer Mike Jones, Co-Director Kemp Powers, Producer Dana Leigh Murray and Director Pete Docter of ‘Soul’ took part today in the Walt Disney Studios presentation at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2019 in Anaheim, Calif. ‘Soul’ will be released in U.S. theaters on June 19, 2020. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

The statement, obtained by Variety, revealed that corporate executives in Disney demanded the cutting out of “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection,” and that executives did not listen to creative and leadership teams at Pixar when there was pushback about said cuts.

“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. Even if creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it,” the letter stated.

On Wednesday, Chapek opened up about why the company stayed silent publicly. “While we have been strong supporters of the community for decades, I understand that many are upset that we did not speak out against the bill. We were opposed to the bill from the outset, but we chose not to take a public position on it because we thought we could be more effective working behind the scenes engaging directly with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle,” he said, according to CNN.

He went on to add that they were ultimately unsuccessful in “achieving a better outcome.”

The Pixar letter also asked that Disney take steps to withdraw financial support from all who supported the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and other bills like it nationwide.

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