Pixar movies haven't featured more overt "same-sex affection" because Disney hasn't allowed it, a group of employees at the studio allege.
A letter attributed to Pixar's LGBTQIA+ employees and their allies criticized Disney for its "financial involvement with legislators behind" Florida's controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill, which Disney CEO Bob Chapek initially refused to criticize publicly, per Variety. Chapek earlier this week argued the best way Disney could help "bring about lasting change is through the inspiring content we produce."
But the Pixar employees allege they have been prevented from putting some LGBTQ content in their films.
"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 says. "Nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney's behest, regardless of when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar. Even if creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it."
Pixar has only had a few LGBTQ characters, including in 2020's Onward, in which a female police officer mentions her "girlfriend's daughter." The studio also produced a short that year, "Out," about a gay man. 2016's Finding Dory featured what appeared to be a lesbian couple in a brief moment, but they weren't identified as such, and the film's co-director said they "can be whatever you want them to be."
The Pixar employees also called on Disney to withdraw financial support from legislators behind Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill, as well as "fully denounce this legislation publicly, and to make amends for their financial involvement."
On Wednesday, Chapek said Disney opposes the bill and would donate to the Human Rights Campaign. But the HRC said it won't accept Disney's money until the company takes "meaningful action" against the legislation.