According to an inside source, Pixar is reportedly restoring a same-sex kiss in their upcoming feature Lightyear. The queer moment had originally been cut by Disney, with Pixar employees claiming that their parent company shaves LGBTQ+ representation “down to crumbs”.
The film, which tells the origin tale of the Toy Story character Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Chris Evans), features a female character, Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduva), who is in a relationship with another woman. A kiss between these characters was written into the script but later axed by the powers that be.
The move to reinstate the scene comes just under two weeks after employees of the animation studio published a letter to Disney CEO Bob Chapek criticising the company’s response to the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, along with their general shortfallings in LGBTQ+ allyship.
BREAKING: Today's statement by @Disney CEO Bob Chapek against the "Don't Say Gay" bill has failed to satisfy many Disney employees
A letter from @Pixar staff to Disney leaders, obtained by https://t.co/Gl6evXRDcZ, details their anger and demands
Follow along if interested pic.twitter.com/GJnne22mdy
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) March 10, 2022
In the letter, workers stated, “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.”
Disney has been facing backlash from staff and fans alike, after their failure to act against the harmful Florida bill. The company was found to have been funding politicians who were campaigning for the enactment of this legislation, and Chapek declared in a staff memo that although they stand with their “LGBTQ+ employees, their families, and their communities,” they would not be taking any public stance.
It wasn’t until after it was passed on March 8, that the CEO denounced the legislation, claiming that Disney “opposed the bill from the offset.”
He added, “I understand our original approach, no matter how well-intended, didn’t quite get the job done.”
Days later, he apologised directly to employees, saying: “It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights. You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down […] I am sorry.”
US-based Disney employees have staged a day-long walkout, happening today, March 22. Those involved outlined their reasoning for the protest in an Instagram post, which also provided information on the consequences of the aforementioned ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
“We have been forced into an impossible and unsustainable position. We must now take action to convince TWDC [The Walt Disney Co.] to protect employees and their families in the face of such open and unapologetic bigotry,” employed stated.
Amid the controversy, Chapek has pledged to donate $5 million to queer organisations and has also reportedly formed a task force that will work to create a concrete plan to ensure Disney is “a force for good” in terms of its LGBTQ+ allyship. There are also reports that the CEO and other senior leaders will conduct a “global listening tour” and meet with employees regarding LGBTQ+ concerns.
Lightyear is due to release on June 17, 2022, and may serve as a huge turning point for LGBTQ+ representation in both Disney and Pixar films.
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