The creator of animated series Gravity Falls has accused Disney of hypocrisy after the company posted a tweet celebrating Pride Month.
Alex Hirsch’s mystery-comedy aired on Disney Channel and Disney XD between 2012 and 2016, and featured two gay characters who expressed their love for one another in the series finale, Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durland.
Hirsch took exception to a widely criticized tweet Disney shared on June 1, acknowledging the start of Pride Month.
It featured an image of Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Daisy Duck walking across the Progress Pride flag, with the message, “There’s room for everyone under the rainbow. 🌈 Happy #PrideMonth!”
— Disney (@Disney) June 1, 2021
Blowback was swift, with many pointing out the lack of openly LGBTQ characters in Disney’s productions, particularly in its animated films.
Others noted that the company had cancelled production of its first LGBTQ-led animated film, Nimona, after blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for shutting down the studio behind the film, Blue Sky Studios.
Hirsch joined in with the criticism, accusing Disney of demanding a gay scene be cut (presumably from Gravity Falls) because of international distribution concerns.
“Disney privately: Cut the gay scene! We might lose precious pennies from Russia & China!” Hirsch wrote. “Disney publicly: 🤡 Honk honk we put rainbow bumper sticker on Lightning McQueen today CONSUME OUR PRODUCTS TEENS.”
He added in a reply: “To any creative at Disney TV, Feature, Publishing or Streaming: please mercilessly spam your execs with ‘there’s room for everyone under the rainbow’ next time they tell you to ‘please revise’ your LGBTQ+ character for ‘not being Disney appropriate.'”
Disney privately: Cut the gay scene! We might lose precious pennies from Russia & China!
Disney publicly: 🤡 Honk honk we put rainbow bumper sticker on Lightning McQueen today CONSUME OUR PRODUCTS TEENS https://t.co/1eco8YgaoP
— Alex Hirsch (@_AlexHirsch) June 2, 2021
To any creative at Disney TV, Feature, Publishing or Streaming: please mercilessly spam your execs with “there’s room for everyone under the rainbow” next time they tell you to “please revise” your LGBTQ+ character for “not being Disney appropriate”
— Alex Hirsch (@_AlexHirsch) June 2, 2021
After someone replied to him saying that Disney “might have changed since Gravity Falls ended,” Hirsch accused Disney of making “some recent business choices that heavily walk back much of that progress.”
“Steps forward often are followed by steps backwards, especially when companies are operating from a place of fear,” Hirsch wrote. “I criticize in hopes of seeing less fear from them in the future.”
Last month, Disney was issued a warning by regulators in Russia over an LGBTQ short film available on its streaming service Disney+.
Pixar’s Out focuses on a man preparing to move in with his boyfriend while also struggling with coming out to his parents.
Russia claimed that the film breaches its 2013 “gay propaganda” law, which bans the promotion of LGBTQ issues, and said that Out “denies family values and promotes non-traditional sexual relationships.”
Adding to the backlash surrounding Disney’s Pride tweet, the day it was posted the Walt Disney Company was also sued by a former executive accusing the company of discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Joel Hopkins, a gay man who has worked for Disney for 27 years, claimed he had been “discriminated against and put on a dead-end career track and repeatedly denied promotions with no remedy or relief.”
Hopkins came out as gay in 2000 while serving as Vice President of Production Finance for the now-defunct Touchstone TV, and currently serves as Vice President of Production Finance for ABC Signature.
He alleges that after his sexual orientation became known to his superiors, he was “discriminated against and put on a dead-end career track and repeatedly denied promotions with no remedy or relief from HR,” according to his suit.
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