A same-sex kiss has reportedly been restored to Pixar’s upcoming new film Lightyear following a backlash after it was cut.
As reported in Variety, the animated prequel for Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear includes a relationship between two female characters. A kiss between the two is said to have been removed but later reinstated after a backlash to its removal, and Disney’s recent handling of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek recently apologised to employees for his silence over Florida’s controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill which was passed earlier this month.
The Republican-led bill, formally known as Parental Rights in Education, bans discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten to third grade classes (aged 8-9). It argued that conversations around identity should be handled by parents, not schools.
The White House has called the legislation “hateful” and something which targets “vulnerable students”.
Disney has been criticised for not speaking out against the bill. The company employs 77,000 people in Florida while their Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando attracts over 58million people every year.
Last week (March 7) Chapek sent out an email to staff, claiming “corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds.”
“Simply put, they can be counterproductive and undermine more effective ways to achieve change,” he added, according to Deadline.
LGBTQIA+ employees at the Disney-owned studio Pixar then sent a letter to Disney, accusing the parent company of stepping back from public debate around “bigoted legislation” while continuing to profit from the LGBT community.
They also claimed that Disney has cut “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection” from its content “regardless of when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar”.
— Walt Disney Company (@WaltDisneyCo) March 11, 2022
Chapek shared another letter 11 that responded: “Thank you to all who have reached out to me sharing your pain, frustration and sadness over the company’s response to the Florida ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.”
“Speaking to you, reading your messages, and meeting with you have helped me better understand how painful our silence was. It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights. You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry.”
Chapek pledged a $5m (£3.8m) donation to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) LGBT advocacy group. However, the charity turned down the donation and called on the entertainment giant to take “meaningful action” against the bill.
Lightyear, featuring the voice of Chris Evans as the central character, will be released in cinemas this June.