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Disney Board Member Warns Openly Gay Characters Are “Too Polarizing”

Disney gay characters
Credit: Disney

The Walt Disney Company has been dealt a reputation that it caters to “woke” ideologies and pushes an agenda on children. While the studio has included LGBTQ+ characters in some films, it only ever truly put one at the forefront in Strange World (2022). Behind closed doors, a prominent Disney voice has reportedly warned to keep these characters seen and not heard or risk the ire of the Disney board members.

Disney gets legal win in case over response to 'Don't Say Gay'

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

“Polarizing” Content

CNBC’s bombshell Disney succession article has dropped a lot of dirt recently. Among them, it has come to light that a Disney board member privately expressed concerns over including an openly gay character in the animated film Strange World.

According to the report, Oracle CEO Safra Catz, who has served on Disney’s board, cautioned then-CEO Bob Chapek that including an LGBTQ+ character is a “huge mistake.” She stressed it could potentially impact the film’s performance due to it being “too polarising.”

Strange World

Credit: Disney

Strange World Failure

Released in 2022, Strange World was a Disney production that garnered mixed reviews and faced challenges at the box office. While the film had been complimented for its innovative animation and visual elements, it fell short of critical and financial expectations.

One aspect that drew significant attention was including an openly gay character, Ethan Clade. This decision sparked controversy among conservative groups who accused Disney of pushing a “woke” agenda. Ethan’s story didn’t entirely revolve around his sexuality, but this controversy arose amongst broader debates about LGBTQ+ representation in society.

Strange World is a film that Disney seems to want to forget now. While Chapek ultimately ignored Catz’s warning, the movie’s release went way under the radar of a typical Disney animated launch. It is almost as if the studio decided to proceed with the movie but didn’t want to draw attention to it, which is reflected in the poor marketing and company silence.

disney turning kids gay

Credit: Disney

Disney Gay Characters Fuel Narrative

It’s important to note that Safra Catz’s comments reflect the perspective of some individuals who have reservations about LGBTQ+ representation in mainstream media. While Disney has been praised for its efforts to diversify its characters and narratives, it has also faced criticism from various quarters.

However, some critics use Strange World‘s failure to justify ideas like the one raised by Catz. These issues raise questions about how studios navigate the fine line between artistic expression and audience reception in an era of increasing social consciousness. Nevertheless, films involving LGBTQ+ characters are not necessarily doomed to failure. Recent releases like Netflix’s Nimona show that a good story with great characters can succeed in spite of anti-LGBTQ+ detractors.

Disney’s perceived commitment to diversity and representation continues to fuel a narrative that arguably may not be what its decision-makers aim to convey. Whether the company takes the failure of Strange World as proof of Catz’s warning or not is up in the air. It will be interesting to see how Disney portrays its characters moving forward.

About Michael Stoyanoff

Michael is a Disney fan with an entertainment background and passion for writing. Living in Orlando, he has been around the theme parks for over a decade. In his free time he enjoys running, playing video games, and traveling the world. He also loves hanging out with his dog, Mr. Pippers the Pug.

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