Not everyone is ecstatic about Disney’s “Not-At-All-Secret Gay Agenda.”
Over the last few months, Disney employees and executives have publicly admitted to having a not-so-secret agenda to push gay and queer content in programs targeted at children. In the wake of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill that bans the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity to K-3 students, Disney’s internal LGBTQ lobby has made “representation” a priority in all future projects by The Walt Disney Corporation.
Disney made LGBTQ representation a primary focus in the marketing of films Thor: Love and Thunder and Lightyear, which profiled prominent LGBTQ characters in their stories. As a result, the films were banned from the country of Malaysia along with 16 other Muslim-majority countries. Now, countries that are Malaysian are fighting back against Hollywood’s LGBTQ lobby.
Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin said on Wednesday that the government is committed to fighting back against LGBT culture in his country, while blaming western influences for its spread. “I am frustrated because the outside world was the one promoting LGBT,” he said responding to a question in Parliament.
“Recently there was a film that did not pass censorship, that is the new ‘Thor’ film. The movie touched on LGBT but we see right now there are many films with LGBT elements that slip past the censorship.”
Zahidi said the government is monitoring films and social media platforms for LGBT content, and will take severe action against individuals found promoting such elements. Malaysia’s federal penal code criminalizes consensual same-sex relations. Those found guilty face a prison sentence of up to 20 years and mandatory whipping.
In the Disney film Lightyear, Alisha Hawthorne, the character voiced by Orange Is The New Black actress Uzo Aduba, who is the best friend and the commanding officer of Buzz Lightyear is married to another woman, and the two raise a child together.
“Lightyear’s queer staff, including animators and editors, shepherd the character to get it right. There’s a lot of really fantastic representation that means a lot more than I can understand. For them to be so excited about that and have it be so personal, it means a lot to me.” Director Angus MacLane said. The film bombed at the worldwide box office due to the inclusion of LGBT content in a children’s movie, losing upwards of $100 million dollars for Disney.
Thor: Love & Thunder highlighted multiple LGBT characters such as Tessa Thompson’s character Valkyrie. Thompson made it clear that it is important to have LGBT representation in Marvel content, despite objections of consumers. “I think rightfully there’s this real want in audiences to see characters be very clearly queer or LGBTQIA inside these spaces.” Thompson said.
Malaysia isn’t the only country taking a stand against Disney’s LGBT agenda. Earlier this week it was announced that Disney+ will indeed align with Middle Eastern censorship rules which will ban the release of LGBT content in the region.
“Content offerings differ across our many Disney+ markets, based upon a number of factors. Content available should align with local regulatory requirements,” a Disney representative told THR in a statement, while also stressing that the platform offers parental controls to allow families to determine what their family members watch.
Thor: Love and Thunder, Lightyear, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, West Side Story, and Eternals are all recent Disney movies that have been banned in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Malaysia, and Indonesia for its display of LGBTQ characters.
Zahidi also talked about the loophole that allows multi-national corporations to display LGBT in the country. The minister revealed that his powers do not cover streaming services such as TikTok or Netflix, which are based outside the country. This allows Disney to air the movies on the Malaysian version of Disney+ Hotstar. As a result, Lightyear is already on the platform with an 18+ recommendation due to its promotion of a same-sex couple within the film that is aimed at children.
“We cannot control overseas platforms that are easily reached online — but activities in the country, we have no issues. We have always been stern and committed,” he said.
As reported earlier today by Bounding, in the upcoming Disney+ plus series Ironheart, Marvel has announced the casting of transgender and non-binary actor Zoe Terakes in a “key role for the series. This announcement comes just weeks after confirming that Ru Paul’s Drag Race star Jaren Kyei Merrell – better known by their stage name Shea Couleé – has also been cast in the series as a series regular.
“There’s a reason [LGBTQ+] content is at the top of this list,” explained Chapek in a company-wide email. “For nearly a century, our company’s stories have opened minds, inspired dreams, shown the world both as it is and how we wish it could be, and now more than ever before, represent the incredible diversity of our society.”
Zahidi advised Malaysians to exercise self-restraint and for parents to use the age-control systems contained within streaming platforms to restrict access to LGBT content. “So if there are those that slipped past censorship, we ask the community to help us.”
What are your thoughts on Malaysia’s ban on LGBT content?