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Same-sex kiss restored to Pixar’s ‘Lightyear’ after employees slam Disney

A same-sex kiss scene was reportedly restored to Pixar’s upcoming feature film “Lightyear” – a reversal that came days after top Disney brass faced intense criticism from some of the studio’s employees over their response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The abrupt change followed the circulation of a March 9 letter signed by “LGBTQIA+ employees of Pixar and their allies,” who accused Disney executives of censoring moments of “overtly gay affection” in their movies. Set for release this summer, the upcoming “Toy Story” spinoff features a relationship between two female characters, one of whom is voiced by actress Uzo Aduba. The kiss between the two characters was initially cut from the film – only to be re-added last week after Pixar employees accused Disney of censorship A source close to the film’s production informed Variety of the change. Disney representatives declined the outlet’s request for comment. The flap at Pixar was part of a broader internal backlash against Disney CEO Bob Chapek and other top executives at the entertainment giant for failing to speak out against the Republican-backed Florida law, which bars Florida teachers from discussing LGBTQ topics like sexual orientation or gender identity with students in third grade or below. The Pixar employees were responding to a companywide memo in which Chapek touted Disney’s “unwavering commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.” In the memo, the Disney CEO argued the company would have its “biggest impact” in driving change by creating a “more inclusive world is through the inspiring content we produce.” Chapek’s words failed to placate the Pixar employees, who said his comments rang “hollow.” “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,” the letter said. “Even if creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it. Beyond the ‘inspiring content’ that we aren’t even allowed to create, we require action,” the Pixar employees added. Other Disney employees slammed Chapek for failing to denounce the Florida bill. Chapek later told shareholders that Disney had unsuccessfully lobbied against the bill behind the scenes. The Disney CEO also said the company would donate $5 million to organizations to the Human Rights Campaign. The company also ceased political donations within the state of Florida. “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 last week. Pixar wasn’t the only Disney-owned studio to speak out against the Florida law. Marvel Studios also released a statement condemning the legislation. “We strongly denounce any and ALL legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community,” the studio said. “Marvel Studios stands for hope, inclusivity and strength; and we proudly stand with the community.”

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