The latest Pixar feature Lightyear, the spinoff prequel to the Toy Story franchise just opened Friday.
In the animated film, Lightyear’s best friend is space ranger Commander Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba), and her wife, Kiko. They represent the most significant same-sex relationship a Pixar feature to date.
The movie also includes a same-sex kiss that almost didn’t make the cut. Chris Evans voices Lightyear and told The Washington Post,
It’s an excellent sign of the times that things are moving in the right direction, but you can’t help but feel like there’s bitter aftertaste [when] acknowledging the fact it is even worthy of discussion.
…it’s long overdue, and reveals the fact that it’s something that is still not the norm.
…there’s still a long way to go.”
Producer Galyn Susman said it wasn’t easy to get Hawthorne’s tender moment into the final cut,
The couple as they exist — the family as they exist — was always in the film.
It was just how much affection we could show.”
Disney supported the lesbian relationship, but reportedly there was pushback on the kiss,
so we had to dial it back.”
The kiss would be cut.
UNTIL… Disney, which had recently donated to Florida lawmakers, became embroiled in controversy over the state’s Don’t Say Gay policy.
Variety reported that the controversy prompted a statement from
the LGBTQIA+ employees of Pixar, and their allies.”
…nearly every moment of overtly gay affection … regardless of when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar.”
Disney changed its stance. Susman says of the kiss,
We were able to put it back in and we’re thrilled. It’s all part and parcel of showing a wonderful relationship.”
But now the film will no longer screen in as many as 14 countries including Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, where censors have rejected the film due to the kiss.
According to them, Lightyear will be absent from theaters across the West Asia region, with agencies offering varying excuses for the ban. Although Lightyear was initially approved in the UAE, the country’s National Media Council tweeted yesterday that the film was in
violation of the country’s media content standards.”
Some social media users say it “insulted” Muslims and Islam.
Screenwriter and Twitter-master Paul Rudnick nailed the absurdity of the controversy…
The right-wing One Million Moms (actually two Moms and a box of wine) want everyone to boycott Lightyear because of a same-sex kiss. Sometimes the One Million Moms still wonder why the One Million Dads left them and their One Million Kids are living in NYC and San Francisco— Paul Rudnick (@PaulRudnickNY) June 18, 2022