Disney adds character voices to TikTok – but they won’t say gay, lesbian or queer
Disney fans were delighted when text-to-speech character voices were introduced to TikTok, until they noticed some strange restrictions on LGBT+ terms.
The text-to-speech voices, including characters Rocket Racoon (Guardians of the Galaxy), C-3PO (Star Wars) and Stitch (friend of Lilo), were added to TikTok on Disney Plus Day on Friday (12 November).
But TikTok users soon noticed that, unlike all other voices on the app, the Disney characters refused to say the words “queer”, “lesbian” and “gay”.
If included in the text, the characters will just skip the word, for example when one TikTok user made various voices say “gay rights”, the Disney characters simply said “rights”.
— Matthew Ruddle (@RuddleMatthew) November 14, 2021
Strangely, the voices will still use the words “trans”, “bisexual” and “asexual”.
Disney’s MCU character voices on tiktok won’t say Gay, Queer, or Lesbian. pic.twitter.com/zbD7YhG0J3
— 🏳️⚧️ Pwincess Alice Muse 🏳️⚧️ (@AnxietyPwincess) November 14, 2021
One Twitter user wrote: “Disney not letting its characters say ‘gay’ on one of the queerest apps is peak Disney.”
disney made the rocket text to speech filter on tiktok unable to say the words gay or lesbian. pic.twitter.com/F9ItYd6XrR
— LUKE. (@STIICKERRS) November 13, 2021
Disney not letting its characters say 'gay' on one of the queerest apps is peak Disney pic.twitter.com/1fGAasmpNQ
— James Troughton 🏳️🌈 (@JDTroughton) November 14, 2021
.@Disney not allowing their characters voices to say "Gay" on TikTok is the saddest, most expected, and funny thing ever
Y'all scared of gay people then once June rolls around it's "OMG BUY OUR GAY SHIRTS AND HATS 😘😘💅💅💅💅"
— JaxKatsV (@JaxKats) November 14, 2021
Another Twitter user described the text-to-speech restrictions as the “saddest, most expected and funny thing ever”, adding: “Y’all scared of gay people then once June rolls around it’s, ‘OMG BUY OUR GAY SHIRTS AND HATS’.”
PinkNews has approached Disney Plus for comment.
Disney has a chequered record on LGBT+ inclusion
The TikTok text-to-speech restrictions have disappointed fans at a time when Disney is trying to improve its reputation on LGBT+ inclusion.
Disney dragged its feet for years on featuring LGBT+ characters, attempting to appease fans with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it inclusion, but recently it seems to have been trying to improve its image.
This year has seen the introduction of bisexual Loki in the new Disney Plus series, the first non-binary character in animated series The Owl House, and the studio’s first-ever same-sex love song in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.
Just this month, it was revealed that Disney had refused to cut LGBT+ references from Eternals for the film’s release in countries like Saudi Arabia, a practice that Disney received huge backlash for in 2019 when it cut a same-sex kiss from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker for release in the Middle East.