There has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding Disney, most notably CEO Bob Chapek. His handling of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill has had some important consequences, as LGBTQ employees and allies of Pixar sent statements that “overtly gay affection” was being cut out of films by the studio. According to Variety, the same almost happened with the upcoming Pixar film Lightyear, which features the character of Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) who was going to kiss another woman in the film. The recent uproar has led to the scene being added in once again. For many, this is a hopeful turn for the company and its handling of LGBTQ representation.
Pixar has long fought the battle to include LGBTQ representation in their projects but was consistently hitting a wall when working on their projects. The recently released Luca was also going to include a scene with the character Giulia. While it was claimed that the issue came from uncertainty with adding a girlfriend character to highlight the character’s sexuality, it seems that the Disney corporate review process has been their main issue. The statement included the following statement:
Nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest, regardless of when there is a 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
Sadly, this is quite an international issue with films like Onward featuring a lesbian cop getting banned in Kuwait, Oman, Quatar, and Saudi Arabia. Marvel Studios has shared a clear statement on their official account and has ensured that their recent release of Eternals wouldn’t get censored in any way. The fact that the scene was added back in for Lightyear is hopefully a big showcase for a more welcoming future, especially for the employees that have been fighting for it.