In the middle of Disney’s implosion after the company was busted donating to the sponsors of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill and subsequently refused to condemn the atrocious anti-LGBTQ legislation, Pixar employees joined the chorus of employees condemning the company.
They alleged that Disney censors had cut any content that had a nod to LGBTQ people, including a same-sex kiss in the upcoming Toy Story prequel, Lightyear. Now executives have announced the affection will be restored to the movie before release.
A statement from “the LGBTQIA+ Employees of Pixar & Their Allies” opened by expressing the group’s anger that Disney had donated to the GOP backers of the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” as well as their anger over an internal memo from CEO Bob Chapek, in which he claimed to stand with the company’s LGBTQ employees but refused to speak out publicly against the bill.
“We hoped our company would show up for us,” the statement said. “But it didn’t.”
In the internal memo to employees, Chapek emphasized that Disney’s diverse content is all the public statement the company needs, but according to the Pixar staff, Disney repeatedly removes queer content from projects. If employees were upset about the proposed legislation, Chapek said, they could get therapy through the company-provided health plan.
“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. 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.”
Chapek then said he would meet Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to discuss somehow preventing the bill from being weaponized against LGBTQ people. In response, DeSantis said that he refused to bow down to “woke corporations” and released a video accusing LGBTQ people of trying to “inject transgenderism into kindergarten.”
Trying to do damage control, Disney said it would donate $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and other LGBTQ rights organizations. HRC rejected its donation and said Disney needed to take more direct action to combat the bill. Chapek eventually apologized to employees for not denouncing the bill.
“You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry,” Chapek said in a follow-up message to staffers.
The company has “paused” political donations in Florida, but similar measures have now been introduced in legislatures around the nation. Disney has not said they would stop donating to politicians in other states.