Former Blue Sky employees have revealed that Disney censored the LGBTQ+ animated feature, Nimona.
Blue Sky Studios, which was known for their Ice Age franchise and Rio films, unceremoniously shut down in 2021. The decision was made two years after Disney’s highly publicised acquisition of 20th Century Fox.
Unfortunately, along with Blue Sky’s closure, production on the LGBTQ+ led Nimona was also shut down.
The movie, which was based on the webcomic by ND Stevenson, was set to follow the shapeshifting titular character and their adventures with Ballister Blackheart – a former knight for the insidious Institution.
At the time, Blue Sky employees told BuzzFeed News that the film was set to break major ground regarding LGBTQ+ representation in Disney backed features.
“It was a first for our studio in a lot of respects and what would have been a first for Disney, I believe. It featured two male leads kissing, it featured a gender-nonconforming lead heroine,” a team member told the publication.
In a recent interview with Business Insider, three former executives revealed that Disney pushed back against the film’s LGBTQ+ elements.
The anonymous individuals went on to say that the movie’s same-sex kiss was particularly frowned upon by Disney’s leadership.
Due to the pressure they felt, Blue Sky’s creative team left out the LGBTQ+ moment from future meetings, even though they hoped to feature it in the final cut.
“We need more queer stories, but we also need to call out how nefarious it is when you don’t tell queer stories,” one of the staffers told the publication.
“When the biggest entertainment company in the world creates content for children and systematically censors queer content, they are pushing queer children to dark places.”
The news follows the recent pushback against Disney by Pixar over alleged censorship claims.
In the lengthy statement released on 9 March, the group accused the company of censoring LGBTQ+ moments from numerous films.
“We at Pixar have personally witnessed beautiful stories, full of diverse characters, come back from Disney corporate reviews shaved down to crumbs of what they once were,” they wrote.
“Nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest, regardless of when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar.”
In response to the open letter, Chapek released a company-wide email on 11 March and apologised to Disney’s queer staff.
Since the public release of the 61-year old’s statement, a source from Pixar revealed that they reinstated a same-sex kiss in the upcoming Toy Story prequel, Lightyear.