Alisha Hawthorne, voiced by Uzo Aduba, in a scene from ‘Lightyear.’ Hawthorne kisses her wife in a scene featured in the animated picture, sparking some backlash for Pixar.
More than a few fans have expressed disappointment with the change in Buzz Lightyear’s voice actor for Pixar’s latest film “Lightyear,” a spinoff about the origins of the beloved “Toy Story” Space Ranger, which is set for theatrical release this Friday. Others seem much more concerned about the film featuring a same-sex couple.
Many of those people are leaving negative reviews on film sites, including Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB, ahead of the release due to a controversial scene in the animated feature that depicts a kiss between Buzz’s best friend Alisha Hawthorne and her wife.
The scene in question was initially cut from “Lightyear,” but was later restored after LGBTQ employees and allies at the Disney-owned company sent a joint statement to studio executives protesting the censorship of “overtly gay affection,” according to Variety.
This week, the movie was banned in 14 Middle Eastern and Asian countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Egypt, Indonesia and Malaysia, according to the New York Times. It appears some fans are also likewise protesting the film over the scene. On Wednesday, reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, where the film currently holds an 81 percent critics score, multiple fans had already left negative reviews over the movie’s gay characters.
“The need that this culture has to push gender ideology on kids is frightening,” wrote a user named AJ. “Keep entertainment wholesome. Keep politics out of entertainment for children. They’re not interested in this sort of thing and they should not be exposed to, it’s unnecessary and whether or not you want to admit it or not there is a normal. How disappointing.”
One person called for people to boycott Disney over the scene. “Can Disney stop pushing identity politics into their movies? It’s kinda inappropriate to be in a kids film (especially in animation),” they wrote. “Stop indoctrinating our children Disney.”
These audience reviews for the film disappeared from Rotten Tomatoes Wednesday afternoon, but later returned. The film website did not immediately respond to a request for comment by the time of this writing.
IMDB also listed several similar user reviews, which have since been hidden but not before being screenshotted and shared on Twitter. One of the reviews read: “It’s a shame to see Disney turn into a bunch of groomers. They want to use these movies made for kids to indoctrinate them into the sick lgbtqrstuvwxyz community.”
Similar sentiments have surfaced elsewhere online. Conservative media figure Ben Shapiro wrote in a tweet Monday, along with an image from a scene reportedly from the film: “Disney works to push a ‘not-at-all-secret gay agenda’ and seeks to add ‘queerness’ to its programming, according to executive producer Latoya Raveneau. Parents should keep that in mind before deciding whether to take their kids to see ‘Lightyear,’ which hits theaters this week.”
Disney works to push a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda” and seeks to add “queerness” to its programming, according to executive producer Latoya Raveneau. Parents should keep that in mind before deciding whether to take their kids to see “Lightyear,” which hits theaters this week. pic.twitter.com/9MNGlzFxCk
“Children are not adults,” Shapiro continued in a subsequent tweet. “What may be appropriate for adults is not appropriate for children. That this must be said demonstrates that our society is in a state of moral collapse.” Shapiro’s tweet has since garnered more than 10,000 likes and 2,000 retweets.
Despite the backlash, some are praising the film for its representation. Film critic Rendy Jones wrote on Twitter: “Andy saw a Buzz Lightyear movie which had positive LGBTQ representation….in 1995. How come the Toy Story universe is more progressive than ours?”
Pixar also faced similar criticism over its film “Turning Red” earlier this year for scenes discussing periods and puberty, some deeming the topics to be “too mature” for children.