Lightyear Restores Same-Sex Kiss After Backlash From Employees

Pixar reportedly reinstates a kiss between two female characters in the upcoming animated film following protest by employees over Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s handling of the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

AceShowbiz -LGBTQ employees and allies at Pixar Animation Studios have apparently scored another major victory following their protest. A same-sex kiss in “Lightyear” has been reinstated after employees sent a letter to Walt Disney Company leadership claiming that Disney executives had actively censored “overtly gay affection” in its feature films.

A source close to the production tells Variety the upcoming animated movie feature a significant female character, Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba), who is in a meaningful relationship with another woman. While the characters’ relationship was always in the film, during the creative process, conversations around intimacy were had and the kiss was removed, though the characters’ roles were never reduced.

Following the internal backlash over Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s handling of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the kiss was reportedly reinstated last week.

In a March 9 letter to The Walt Disney Company leadership, unnamed Pixar employees alleged that the company has “shaved down to crumbs” what representation they are allowed to put forth. “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,” they alleged.

The statement did not specifically mention which Pixar films had weathered the censorship, nor which specific creative decisions were cut or altered, but apparently that was enough to make the studio change its mind about the same-sex kiss.

Earlier this month, Chapek also announced a major decision in light of the protest over the company’s lack of public response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The company has paused political donations to Florida.

On Friday, March 11, Chapek wrote in a memo, “Today, we are pausing all political donations in the state of Florida pending this review.” He added, “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.”

The 61-year-old also thanked those “who have reached out to [him] sharing [their] pain, frustration and sadness over the company’s response to the Florida ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.” He continued, “You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry.”

“Lightyear” centers on the fictional Buzz Lightyear, the character who inspired the action figure in the “Toy Story” films. Chris Evans voices the title character in the movie, which is set for release in the U.S. on June 17.

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