Show Creator Slams Disney After Series Was Placed In Disney+ Pride Collection

in Disney, Television

Disney+ released its first-ever Pride Collection in 2021 and continued the tradition this year, curating a selection of content showcasing LGBTQIA+ characters and stories.

One of the shows featured is Disney’s Gravity Falls, an animated series that ran from 2012 to 2016. Created by Alex Hirsch, the Disney Channel and Disney XD series follows twins Dipper and Mabel Pines as they spend their summer with their Great Uncle Stan, also known as Grunkle Stan.

Credit: Disney

Hirsch is also a voice actor on another series in Disney+’s Pride collection, The Owl House, which featured Disney’s first-ever bisexual character. He often advocates for LGBTQIA+ in animation and media.

Though Hirsch has frequently worked with The Walt Disney Company, he is outspoken about the difficulties he faced at the House of Mouse. When he noticed Gravity Falls was in Disney+’s Pride content collection, he wrote:

Oh totally! My comment was directed at Disney. I still have the Email where Disney explicitly banned me from having LGBTQ characters in Gravity Falls. It’s brain-breaking that years later they’re trying to get pride points for this

Last week, Hirsch shared a video on Twitter, which contained e-mails between himself and Disney’s Standard and Practices Department (S&P), which is responsible for approving content in Disney animation:

One last treat. Ever curious about the fights I had with the censors on Gravity Falls? I probably shouldn’t share this buttttt here are some REAL NOTES from DISNEY S&P and my REAL REPLIES. You are not prepared #10YearsOfGravityFalls

Many exchanges focused on words that could be mistaken for inappropriate subjects, but one specific email prohibited Hirsch and other creators from implying a gay relationship on Gravity Falls. The email from Disney S&P reads:

PG 380- Please revise the action of Blubs putting his arm around Durland. As noted in previous concerns, their affectionate relationship should remain comical versus flirtatious. 

Text of an email from Disney S&P that prohibits Hirsch from implying a gay relationship in Gravity Falls.
Credit: @_AlexHirsch on Twitter

“Nope. They’re…buddies. Chill out,” Hirsch replied.

"Nope. They're buddies. Chill out," white text reads on a black box.
Credit: @_AlexHirsch on Twitter

“The gesture is approved in this context,” Disney’s S&P representative said.

"The gesture is approved in this context," white text on a black background reads.
Credit: @_AlexHirsch on Twitter

Dan Povenmire, the creator of Disney’s Phineas and Ferb, responded supportively to Hirsch, referencing his frustrating experiences with Disney’s Standards and Practices department. Povenmire wrote:

I wish I had saved mine now.

Hirsch even mentioned using Phineas and Ferb as precedent for approval on certain lines in Gravity Falls, writing:

Phineas had TONS of “adult” humor. I was constantly referencing Candace/Doof lines as precedent to get approval on stuff

Disney has become more willing to openly depict LGBTQIA+ characters in television and film since Gravity Falls premiered ten years ago. Just last weekend, Pixar’s Lightyear premiered, depicting the first-ever same-sex kiss in a Disney movie.

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Strange World, coming this November, will feature the first ever openly-gay teen romance in a Disney film!

strange world logo
Credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios

Hirsch and other Disney animators’ push for representation has brought beloved characters to television and movie screens, and will only continue to make the Disney universe more inclusive.

Did you watch Gravity Falls? Do you think it’s fair for Disney+ to include it in the Pride collection?  

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