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There could be a gay Disney princess, Moana directors claim

Nick Duffy December 19, 2017

The directors of Moana have claimed that Disney would be “open” to the idea of a gay Disney princess.

Ron Clements and John Musker directed the 2016 film, which introduced Disney’s first Polynesian princess.

The pair were also behind The Princess and the Frog, which introduced African-American Disney princess Tiana.

Speaking to Huffington Post, the pair did not rule out a lesbian or bisexual princess.

Asked about the possibility of an LGBTQ Disney princess, Clements said, “It seems like the possibilities are pretty open at this point.”

Musker added: “It would be driven by a director or a directorial team that really wanted to push that and if [Disney Animation’s Chief Creative Officer] John Lasseter liked the idea, but I would say we haven’t ever really [had] restrictions placed on what we’ve done.”

We love the idea of a gay Disney princess, but we’re not holding our breath just yet.

While the company certainly pushed the boat out in some ways with Moana – which featured a strong, independent princess and no romantic interest – indications suggest we’re still a long way away from the point at which we might see an LGBT princess.

The company has never risked putting a central gay character in a global release, let alone a film as important to its global brand as the lucrative Disney Princess range.

Industry insiders say the likelihood of prominent gay characters appearing in Disney or Marvel films is remote for financial reasons, rather than creative ones.

As Disney blockbusters and related merchandise are marketed across the entire world, they must pass compliance standards in countries with homophobic laws that ban any depiction of homosexuality.

When the director of live-action Disney film Beauty and the Beast hinted that his film featured an “exclusively gay moment”, industry regulators in a number of markets threatened to ban the film if it featured any visible same-sex romance.

In fact the film only featured one brief shot of a minor character, LeFou, dancing with another man in the background of a scene.

But even that feeble gesture was too much for Malaysian authorities, who originally blocked the release of the film in the region in response to the story.

The head of the Malaysian Censorship Board (LPF) falsely told the country’s press that he had banned the film because of a scene where a gay man “lifts up his shirt and shows a love bite on his tummy”.

No such scene was made or present in any version of the film, but the story infuriated enough people to dent the film’s takings across the region.

Disney Channel shows that feature LGBT content have also faced censorship from the international market.

Andi Mack was the show the daughter allegedly objected to (Photo: Disney Channel)

The second season of Andi Mack featured a storyline in which teen Cyrus develops feelings for a schoolmate, Jonah.

The plot arc led to an uproar that forced Disney Channel to pull the show from air in as many as 50 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

Disney Channel itself is rumoured to have enforced an unofficial ban on LGBT content on its TV shows until a few years ago.

The policy has since been relaxed, however. In 2013 Disney series Good Luck Charlie became the first to feature a gay couple, with two female parents appearing in a minor role in one episode.

Disney Junior cartoon Doc McStuffins also featured a same-sex couple.

Even inside the US, Disney’s tentative forays into LGBT inclusivity have provoked an angry response from anti-LGBT activists.

After Doc McStuffins featured gay parents, campaign group One Million Moms attacked Disney for featuring same-sex parents.

The infamous self-appointed TV censors, who despite their name have just 3,722 mostly-male Twitter followers, claimed the show was corrupting children and enticing them into a homosexual lifestyle.

The group claimed: “Controversial topics and lifestyle choices should be left up to the parents to discuss and Disney Junior should not introduce this to young children.

“Just because an issue may be legal or because some are choosing a lifestyle doesn’t make it morally correct. Disney should stick to entertaining and providing family-friendly programming instead of pushing an agenda.”

In a pre-written letter One Million Moms encouraged supporters to threaten Disney with a boycott for at least the third time this year, after taking exception to other instances of LGBT inclusion.

Its form letter threatened: “Families tuning in to watch this children’s program will encounter a premature discussion on sexual orientation that is completely unnecessary.

“If your producers keep this episode as originally planned, then my family will have no choice but to no longer watch the Disney Channel Network in our home so we can avoid the previews and commercials for this irresponsible episode as well as any reruns of the episode.

“I will not allow the Disney Channel in my home unless you produce and air family-friendly programming.”

Earlier this year it was revealed that Marvel film Thor: Ragnarok left a same-sex romance on the cutting room floor.

Tessa Thompson played Asgardian warrior Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok.

The actress told the media that the character was bisexual, though there was no explicit on-screen confirmation.

Thompson later revealed she had filmed a scene which more directly confirmed her sexuality that was dropped.

The actress revealed that she convinced the film’s director Taika Waititi to include the shot, which featured a woman walking out of Valkyrie’s bedroom.

It was removed as the film was edited.

More: Disney, Film Reviews, Gay, LGBT, Moana, movie, princess, release, Television, US

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