A Disney executive in charge of content vowed to up the ante on gender politics during an all-hands meeting, promising that at least half of the characters in its productions will be LGBTIA or minority by the end of the year.
General entertainment president Karey Burke choked up during the company-wide Zoom call Monday, saying the issue hit close to home because of her children.
‘I’m here as the mother of two queer children, actually, one transgender child and one pansexual child, and also as a leader,’ she said.
During the same all-hands meeting, television animation executive producer Latoya Raveneau gushed about Disney’s inclusivity.
‘Our leadership over there has been so welcoming to my not-so-secret gay agenda,’ she said. ‘Where ever I could I was adding queerness to. No one would stop me and no one was trying to stop me.’
Videos from the meeting were leaked to conservative journalist Christopher Rufo of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, who first reported them on Twitter.
The Mickey Mouse company has been roiled by protests, counter-protests and walkouts after Florida Gov. Ronald DeSantis signed the so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill into law.
The legislature bans teaching kids lessons on sexuality, gender identity and sexual orientation ‘in a manner that is not age appropriate.’
Disney employees walked out of the company headquarters last week to protest the slow response to the Florida law.
Parents hit the company from the other side for what they said was pandering to liberal politics.
Disney has reportedly reinstated a gay kiss in its upcoming Toy Story spinoff amid the criticism. Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba), a character in the film Lightyear, has a relationship with another female character in the film
Disney president Kary Burke said that her own children identify as ‘pansexual’ and ‘transgender’
Disney’s diversity and inclusion chief Vivain Ware said that they no longer address the visitors as ‘ladies and gentleman, boys and girls,’ they now say ‘Dreamers of all ages’
Meanwhile, the animation and live-action movie company announced that it would increase the number of gay characters in its films.
‘I have heard so much from so many of my colleagues over the past few weeks in open forums, through emails and phone conversations,’ Burke said. ‘I feel a responsibility to speak not just for my self but also for [my kids].’
She defended 20th Century Fox as ‘the home of really incredible, groundbreaking LGBTQIA stories over the years.’
But she said that it hasn’t been inclusive enough.
‘One of our execs stood up and said, ‘You know we only have a handful of queer leads in our content,’ Burke said. ‘I went, ‘What? That can’t be true. And then I realized it is true.’
The company has launched a campaign called ‘Reimagine Tomorrow’ with the goal to represent more minority groups.
‘By 2022, 50% of regular and recurring characters across Disney General Entertainment scripted content will come from underrepresented groups,’ according to the ‘Reimagine’ promotional material.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the ‘Don’t say gay’ bill into law on Monday
Last Friday, Disney CEO Bob Chapek promised to work to overturn the law and apologized to the LGBTQIA community for not being ‘a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights.’
DeSantis said the company was overstepping its authority.
The animation company also invited Nadine Smith, the co-founder of Equality Florida, who said that there’s been a strong anti-gay movement in the Sunshine State for a long time and the ultimate goal is to take kids away from their parents.
‘When they can erase you, when they can criminalize your existence, when they can demonize who you are, the next step is to criminalize you and take your kids,’ she said.
Last Friday the company also announced that it would reinstate a kissing scene between two women in ‘Lightyear’ an upcoming film spun off the popular ‘Toy Story’ franchise.
Disney said their sensitivity to nonbinary people is nothing new they are working on eliminating gendered pronouns in their theme parks.
‘Last summer we removed all gendered greetings in relationship to our live spiels,’ Diversity and Inclusion Vivian Ware said at Monday’s town hall.
‘We no longer say ‘Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,’ she said. ‘We’ve provided training to all our cast members so now they know it’s ‘Hello, everyone or hello, friends’
Disney expressed support for the demonstration in a Facebook post Tuesday morning
Scar from the Lion King has been speculated to be a queer character
Ursula of ‘The Little Mermaid’ has also said to be gender nonconforming
When they brought the fireworks show back to the Magic Kingdom theme park in Buena Vista, Florida, they addressed the crowd as ‘Dreamers of all ages.’
‘We want to create that magic moment with our guests,’ she said. ‘We don’t want to just assume because someone might be, in our interpretation, presenting as female, that they may not want to be called ‘princess.’
Disney’s sudden sexual awakening, may be a bit of rebranding.
The internet is awash with stories about gay characters in their animated films.
Governor Ratcliffe from ‘Pocahontas’, Ursula from ‘The Little Mermaid,’ and Scar from ‘The Lion King’ have all been speculated to be queer or queer-coded.
Le Fou, the bumbling sidekick in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is said to be the first openly gay character.
In 2021, Forbes complained in a headline ‘How Many Times Is Disney Going To Introduce Its ‘First’ Gay Character?’