Disney has formally announced that a same-sex kiss that had been cut from the upcoming ‘Buzz Lightyear’ film, has been reinstated. The announcement comes on the heels of a massive walkout demonstration enacted by Pixar Animation studios LGBTQ employees as well as a March 9 letter critical of leadership’s alleged censorship of “overly gay” content intended for children.
The walkout was in response to the aptly named, “Don’t Say Gay” bill that is likely to be signed into law in Florida. The letter to executives at the Walt Disney Company accused them of censoring gay content in children’s movies, but did not call for action to be taken on any particular film, Variety reported.
The bill prohibits schools from teaching children about same-sex relationships until the third grade, The bill also prohibits how schools are allowed to speak on gender identity and sexual orientation.
The letter is said to have been a deciding factor in production’s decision to add back the same-sex kiss in the latest Pixar movie, “Lightyear,” according to a source speaking with the outlet.
Pixar’s next feature film is set to tell the backstory of the ‘Toy Story’ character Buzz Lightyear. It also features Hawthorne, a leading female character in a relationship with another woman voiced by actress Uzo Aduba, according to Variety.
Disney has come under a ton of fire due to the company not immediately opposing the bill, and now Pixar employees have come out stating that they have long been censored. They claim the studio asked them to remove “overly gay affection” from any of their feature films. This could have been a reason behind removing the same-sex kiss that initially existed in the “Buzz Lightyear” film. However, there have not been any details given on which feature films have been subject to such strong censorship. Employees have also stated that Disney has donated to nearly every politician who has been in favor of this new bill.
Former Pixar employees said for years they tried but failed to get what they believe is meaningful representation of LGBTQ characters and themes in movies intended for children, according to Variety.
A source told Variety, “We very often came up against the question of, ‘How do we do this without giving them a love interest?’ That comes up very often at Pixar.”
The allegations being brought against Disney have led the CEO, Bob Chapek, to apologize for their lack of response to the bill and has allowed the kiss to be reinstated.
Additional sources spoke to Variety and revealed that cities with the notable presence of LBGTQ populations like San Francisco and New York City were made to not appear that way, though those elements were written into the original scripts. The sources allege that a rainbow sticker in one of the shops for the films was removed and labeled as too “distracting.” Representation for marginalized groups has been a strong issue of contention for this country and Disney should know all too well that limited representation would come around for their feature films and more. Buzz Lightyear is the first instance that Pixar is allowing a same-sex relationship to be shown this way.
‘Lightyear’ is set to release on June 22nd. The film stars Chris Evans as Buzz Lightyear, Taika Waititi as Morrison, Keke Palmer as Izzy, and Uzo Aduba as the above-mentioned Hawthorne. With Pixar and Disney allowing the same-sex kiss in the film, this will be the first time that a family-friendly animated film is allowing same-sex relationships to be front and center. Lightyear is now going to be a ground-breaking film.