Disney has formally announced that a same-sex kiss that had been cut from the upcoming Buzz Lightyear film, has been reinstated. This announcement comes on the heels of a massive walkout demonstration that was enacted by Pixar Animation Studios LGBTQ employees and allies. This walkout was in response to the aptly named, “Don’t Say Gay” bill that is likely to be signed into law in Florida. 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.
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 “overtly 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.
The LGBTQ employees and allies have come together to speak on the apparent need or want to remove any sort of same-sex elements from the majority of the animated features. While some R-rated films have certainly portrayed these elements, all or most PG or G-rated films go by the “tell, but don’t show” way of handling things. The film, Onward, had a one-eye cop who briefly mentions her girlfriend. Toy Story 4 saw two women saying goodbye to their child in kindergarten and Finding Dory may have shown a same-sex couple as well. However, these small mentions of the same sex were fleeting and are not enough for the representation needed by Pixar employees. The Buzz Lightyear film is said to have a cadet by the name of Hawthorne, who mentions her girlfriend in the movie. While the studio was aware of this relationship and had no issues with it, they had allegedly removed the kiss that she shares with her partner. 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 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 in this way.
Buzz 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 to occur 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.