Christian conservatives demand boycott of Disney over gay teen character in “Strange World”

Ethan in Disney's 'Strange World'
Ethan in Disney's 'Strange World' Photo: Screenshot

Disney’s Strange World is getting positive attention in Hollywood for including a gay, biracial teen character since its world premiere on Tuesday.

But One Million Moms (OMM) – a project of the anti-LGBTQ hate group American Family Association (AFA) – is calling for a boycott of Disney over the movie.

Strange World follows a biracial family of adventurers as they explore a treacherous land filled with bizarre and dangerous creatures. Back in June, Disney screened several scenes from the film at France’s Annecy International Animation Film Festival, one of which shows 16-year-old Ethan awkwardly flirting with another boy.

“The scene describes [Ethan] being very shy in front of his boy crush, and his dad comes in and says ‘So nice to meet you! my son talks about you all the time,’ and further embarrasses his son,” Emmy Award-winning producer Matthieu Saghezchi tweeted after seeing the scene in June. “Very cute.”

“Very cute” isn’t how OMM described that scene: “Obviously, this part of the movie is a nod to inclusivity, along with a blatant attempt by Disney to normalize a same-sex crush.”

The problem for OMM isn’t just Strange World, but Disney in general.

“Disney is no longer being discrete, but now Disney has traded its subtlety for intentionality,” the group wrote on its website. “The Disney that parents knew as children is long gone. Disney has now decided to be politically correct instead of providing family-friendly programming. But Disney should stick to entertaining, not pushing an agenda.”

The group has set up a petition to protest the movie. Instead of calling for a boycott of only the movie, though, they’re calling for a boycott of the entire Disney Corporation.

“I do not agree with the LGBTQ agenda you are pushing on families in the upcoming animated movie Strange World,” the petition reads. “My family and I will not watch this film. Disney has left conservative and Christian families with no choice but to avoid Strange World since it goes against our beliefs and values. My family will not support Disney; you have lost our trust.”

The group claims to have almost 16,000 signatures so far on the petition.

OMM isn’t the only group that’s upset the movie includes a gay teen character.

“As Disney begins pushing ‘Strange World’ for next week’s release, here’s the reminder that their ‘not-at-all-secret gay agenda’ to target kids is ongoing,” said Daily Wire editor Ben Shapiro earlier this week. “It’s a part of the plot of this movie, just as it was with ‘Lightyear.’ Your kids, your choice.”

Disney released a statement earlier this year opposing Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law, which led to the Florida legislature voting to end a contract with Disneyworld because the corporation spoke out. Conservatives protested in front of Disney theme parks, with rightwingers calling Disney “groomers,” Satanic, and “PEDO World” for supporting LGBTQ rights.

In April of this year, video from a conference call with Disney executives showed that many of the executives supported having more LGBTQ characters in films. Rightwing activist Christopher Rufo, who leaked the video, called for a boycott of Disney.

The AFA first targeted Disney with a boycott in the 1990s because the corporation was giving benefits to employees’ same-sex partners. The boycott ended in 2005 without any policy change at Disney.

“We feel after nine years of boycotting Disney we have made our point,” AFA President Tim Wildmon said in the organization’s June 2005 newsletter.

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