Pixar’s upcoming prequel to the Toy Story series – Lightyear – has been garnering a lot of attention for a while now, especially due to the controversy over a same-sex kiss scene in the film. The studio had originally intended to remove the scene from the final cut but reinstated it after protests by employees.
The protests were held at a time when Disney was already facing backlash for its silence regarding the Parental Rights in Education bill (known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill) in Florida which prevented schools from educating children about such sexual orientations and gender identities. Pixar employees felt that the company enabled this kind of culture since many LGBTQ+ scenes in Pixar films were routinely censored.
Set for its theatrical release later this week, Lightyear has faced resistance from 14 conservative countries and has already been banned by countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Egypt, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Although Disney hasn’t commented yet, it is tragic that a children’s film has to be censored in this manner.
While addressing this widespread public debate about such a scene, Taika Waititi said: “We’re hoping for a time when we don’t even have to have this conversation. We can watch a movie and we don’t even have to bat an eyelid. We don’t have to think ‘Oh wow, weird’. It’s not weird, it’s normal and it should be normalised. “
Elaborating on the ban, Waititi added: “Whenever you have these small steps that studios are making – sometimes they may feel small but also, they are steps – and it’s steps towards normalising humanity and love. I really feel sorry for countries who don’t want this film because of a tiny, weird little thing like that.”