Those naughty animated Pixar characters better stay away from showing each other affection if they’re gay or seemingly so – that’s how parent company Disney wants it.
In a letter signed “the LGBTQIA+ employees of Pixar, and their allies,” acquired by Variety, employees of the animation studio claim that Disney corporate bigs have stipulated cuts from “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection… regardless of when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar.”
Disney’s censorship is heavy-handed, the employees say.
“We at Pixar have personally witnessed beautiful stories, full of diverse characters, come back from Disney corporate reviews shaved down to crumbs of what they once were,” the letter continues. “Even if creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it.”
The statement follows a company-wide memo sent this Monday by Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Chapek.
In the lengthy missive, Chapek explained why Disney has been silent on the Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill—also known as the Parental Rights in Education bill—which would disallow school districts from encouraging classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity for students in kindergarten through third grade. Chapek told employees via the memo that statements could often be “counterproductive,” among other things.
“As we have seen time and again, corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds,” Chapek wrote. “Instead, they are often weaponized by one side or the other to further divide and inflame. Simply put, they can be counterproductive and undermine more effective ways to achieve change.”
Still, he said that Disney’s “lack of statement” did not equal a “lack of support.”
At Wednesday’s shareholder meeting, Chapek for the first time voiced Disney’s opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. He also announced that the company would pledge a $5 million donation to the Human Rights Campaign and other LGBTQ rights organizations, as well as meet with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to discuss concerns about the bill.
The Pixar employees responded to the proposals by writing that they were “not enough… While signing on to donate to the HRC is a step in the correct direction… Disney did not take a hard stance in support of the LGBTQIA+ community, they instead attempted to placate ‘both sides.'”
Joining the fray, the HRC announced they wouldn’t accept the Disney donation until “meaningful action” was taken on the bill, Joni Madison, interim president of HRC, said in a statement.
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