Disney’s Pixar will restore a gay kissing scene in the upcoming kid’s film ‘Lightyear’ after LGBTQ employees and ‘allies’ sent a joint statement to their leadership accusing the company of censoring “overtly gay affection” in its children’s films.
The movie, which tells the story behind Toy Story’s character Buzz Lightyear, openly features a significant female character in a gay relationship with another woman.
However, according to Variety, while the fact that the homosexual relationship was never in question at the studio, a kiss between the characters had been cut from the film.
“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,” the statement from Pixar’s employees read.
“Even if creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it.”
The backlash came as part of a larger protest over the company’s “lack of response” to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill which bans LGBTQ+ ideology from being taught to young children in kindergarten to grade three.
LGBTQ employees and their ‘allies’ took aim at Disney CEO Bob Chapek for not immediately denouncing Florida’s legislation that would prevent teachers from talking to children about their sexual orientation and transgender identity.
Chapek responded to the backlash by issuing an apology to Disney employees and donating $5 million to an LGBTQ activist group.
“It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights,” Chapek said.
“You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights, and I let you down. I am sorry.”
Chapek went on to pledge his allegiance to LGBTQ+ employees, vowing Disney’s commitment to creating a more “inclusive company – and world.”
The LGBTQ employees responded to Chapek’s statement, saying they appreciate the apology, “but there is still more work to be done.”
Variety said the decision to include a same-sex kiss in the upcoming film “marks a possible major turning point for LGBTQ representation not just in Pixar films, but in feature animation in general…”
The publication went on to say, creatives within the studio have been working for years to incorporate LGBTQ identity into its storytelling in ways big and small.