Just last week, amidst the outcry from Disney employees over the company’s refusal to publicly address Florida’s recently-passed “Don’t Say Gay” bill, there was a report that LGBTQ employees at Pixar were frustrated with what amounted to censorship of same-sex relationships and affection in their movies by their parent company. A statement from this group of employees claimed that Disney removes “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection … regardless of when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar.”
Apparently, according to a new report in Variety, these employees’ protests have produced some tangible results, with one such moment of affection between a same-sex couple that had been deleted from Lightyear has since been restored. “A source close to the production” told Variety that the film…
… does feature a significant female character, Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba), who is in a meaningful relationship with another woman. While the fact of that relationship was never in question at the studio, a kiss between the characters had been cut from the film. Following the uproar surrounding the Pixar employees’ statement and Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s handling of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, however, the kiss was reinstated into the movie last week.
Disney declined to comment on Variety’s story, and there are still several months between now and Lightyear’s release, so this scene or many others could be changed or removed entirely from the movie between then and now. But if the scene remains, it could mark a significant moment in Pixar and Disney history. (For now, that’s a very big if.)
Lightyear is scheduled to premiere in theaters on June 17, 2022. If that date holds, it will be the first Pixar movie to open in theaters since 2020’s Onward; Soul, Luca, and the recent Turning Red all went direct to Pixar.