After coming under fire for its handling of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Pixar is restoring a cut scene from its upcoming film “Lightyear”.
Staff at Pixar Animation Studios recently sent a statement to leadership, alleging executives continued to censor “overtly gay affection” in its films.
The statement was part of a larger protest over the company’s lack of response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which bars “instruction” of sexual orientation or gender identity in classrooms.
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The studio’s next film “Lightyear” is about the inspiration behind the Buzz Lightyear character in the “Toy Story” franchise. It also includes the female character Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba) who is in a relationship with another woman. The film originally featured a kiss scene between the two which was removed.
Variety reports the studio is now restoring the scene following the uproar.
While the animation company has featured LGBTQ+ representation in the form of minor characters in numerous films, any scenes explicitly referencing same-sex relationships are either passing references or result in those films being banned in certain countries.
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Pixar’s “Onward” features a female cop who references her girlfriend in one scene, resulting in the film being banned in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East.
The backlash from Pixar staff reportedly began when Disney CEO Bob Chapek released a company-wide memo on March 9 stating the “biggest impact” Disney can make “is through the inspiring content [they] produce.”
The statement from staff countered this point, arguing “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.”
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They continued, “Even if creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it.”
Variety notes that none of their sources at the company could cite first-hand experience of Disney executives explicitly cutting out LGBTQ+ content.