FILE – In this Aug. 8, 2017, file photo, The Walt Disney Co. logo appears on a screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. European Union authorities say they have cleared Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s entertainment assets, provided Disney sells off some TV channels it controls in Europe. The European Commission said Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 it gave its approval to the deal under the EU Merger Regulation. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Well, it appears Disney’s having some international issues with its new Pixar movie Onward.
Multiple markets in the Middle East have banned the animated flick due to its inclusion of an explicitly lesbian character.
Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have all banned the film due to the reference. The film, released regionally this week, is nowhere to be seen on cinema schedules in those territories.
However, some ME markets — Bahrain, Lebanon and Egypt among them — are showing the film.
The Mouse didn’t exactly trumpet its gay content ahead of Onward’s opening.
For those of you who haven’t heard, the character at issue — voiced by Lena Waithe — is a police officer who mentions her lesbian lover.
Here’s Slate with a description:
[W]e don’t need to speculate about Waithe’s Officer Spector. We know because she tells us. When she and her partner, voiced by Ali Wong, pull over a driver who claims he was distracted because his girlfriend’s sons have been acting up, she commiserates, “My girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out.”
It’s sorta done in passing:
That line isn’t the point of the scene. In fact, it goes by so fast you could barely notice it. But that’s why it works so well. The film doesn’t pause to let it sink in or isolate the moment with a cut for emphasis. It passes unremarked, because in this world, it’s accepted as a fact of life. Some babies have two daddies, and some babies have two mommies, even if those mommies happen to be centaurs or elves.
As noted by The Daily Wire, in Russia, the word “girlfriend” got replaced with “partner.”
Also, Disney’s sometimes edits content to suit particular Middle Eastern markets: It removed the lesbian kiss in the recent Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Guess they didn’t wanna go that route this time.
As I covered last month, in the gay character department, the studio is certainly proceeding Onward: In its upcoming Marvel release The Eternals, America will feast its eyes on an overtly gay superhero, complete with a husband and a child.
And superherodom’s first onscreen male-on-male smooch.
“[I]t’s a beautiful, very moving kiss. Everyone cried on set. For me it’s very important to show how loving and beautiful a queer family can be. Brian Tyree Henry is such a tremendous actor and brought so much beauty into this part, and at one point I saw a child in his eyes, and I think it’s important for the world to be reminded that we in the queer community were all children at one point. We forget that because we’re always depicted as sexual or rebellious. We forget to connect on that human part.”
It seems we’re looking at a cultural collision: Traditionally, conservative Christians have embraced Disney as a refuge where their general beliefs are unopposed if not bolstered.
But Walt’s legacy appears to be making it clear: Gay characters will now be a part of its entertainment for chidren.
For more, see The Disney Channel’s first gay teen making his move on Andi Mack (here).
So where does said change leave that traditional pairing of Mickey and the Church?
It’s a sizable question.
What do you predict? Will Believers adjust and fall in line? Will Disney notice a drop in business over its inclusion of the LGBTQI? Will it affect anything one way or the other?
Is Disney just giving its audiences what they want?
Let us all know in the Comments section.
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