Disney Accused of “Sexualizing Kids” in ‘The Naughty Nine’

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Three members of the Naughty Nine

Credit: Disney

One of Disney’s newest Christmas movies, The Naughty Nine (2023), might not be as iconic as something like The Santa Clause (1994), but it’s making waves for the wrong reasons.

The titular Naughty Nine
Credit: Disney

The Naughty Nine is a Disney original movie on Disney Plus about a group of kids planning an elaborate heist to steal their presents from Santa Claus (played by Danny Glover) after winding up on the infamous naughty list. It’s an interesting idea and has a decent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but some viewers are taking issue with some of the kids’ behavior.

Related: The Disney Channel’s Best In-Universe Songs, Ranked

Parent websites like Common Sense Media warn about Disney glorifying bad behavior, yet still give it a passing grade. However, media outlets like The Federalist are calling Disney out for including a stereotypical gay character using flirtatious language.

Disney Gets Naughty for The Naughty Nine

The Naughty Nine at Santa's workshop
Credit: Disney

It’s so easy to rag on Disney these days, and that’s even without the chants of conservative viewers screaming “Disney’s gone woke!” But a report from The Federalist about Disney’s new Christmas movie isn’t just blown out of proportion, it’s adding fuel to an already raging fire.

Related: Disney+ Special Faces Backlash, Accused of “Ruining Christmas” For Kids

The report by Eleanor Bartow describes a scene involving the character, Jon Anthony, as follows.

 “Jon Anthony, a boy with gay mannerisms played by Deric McCabe, is selling clothing under his own designer label. To a potential buyer asking about an item, he gestures at another taller male and says, “I told that hottie over there I’d sell it to him for $200.”

Bartow further adds,

“With this scene, Disney is sexualizing children and blurring the lines of what’s acceptable behavior. Later on, Jon also calls the male lead character Andy (played by Winslow Fegley) “cute,” which isn’t quite as sexual as “hottie,” but adds that element…”

Matters of the LGBTQ+ community mixing with Disney is a whole different can of worms, but calling instances like this “sexually charged” language as Bartow does feels like a bit of a stretch, especially given the fact that it seems to be done for more comedic effect than anything above a PG rating. That said, Bartow isn’t the only one who shares this opinion.

Related: Disney Adults Aren’t the Problem, Disney Parents Are

It should also be noted that Jon Anthony isn’t the only stereotype seen amongst the diverse cast. Anthony Joo plays Lewis Sobong who acts as the token Asian genius with his computer skills.

John Anthony at the north pole in Naughty Nine
Credit: Disney

While it’s not exactly scandalous, it’s still a bit much for a gaggle of fifth graders. A contributor on Common Sense Media known as “Brian T.” goes further into this matter and accuses Disney of pushing an agenda when they write,

“What appears to be a 9-year-old boy in makeup making sexual comments about other boys is not family entertainment. No, thank you. Just another example of Disney pushing their agenda through a G-rated movie.”

Similarly, “R.G.” replies underneath with,

“Can’t watch anything Disney with young kids due to their agenda. First part of the movie already has a main character with two dads and a young flamboyant gay boy calling another older boy or grown man a “hottie”. Not a movie for young kids.”

Danny Glover as Santa Claus
Credit: Disney

Call it Disney attempting to be more inclusive of different identities, call it the garden variety gay-coded-character, the focus is still on a group of kids trying to get their Christmas wishes granted. It’s certainly not keeping with typical conservative values, but is it really that detrimental?

Related: Disney Officially Supports R-Rated Christmas Classic

It seems like the primary people “sexualizing” the dialogue of this movie are viewers who interpret it as such. While the enjoyment and understanding of any movie is subjective, parental digression should still be implemented if parents don’t want their children watching something they think is inappropriate. Just because its on Disney+ doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed by the publications above do not necessarily reflect those of Inside the Magic or the writer.

Do you think The Naughty Nine is problematic? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!


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