The Queer As Folk creator worried that Disney’s “family friendly” stance would be a hindrance to LGBTQ+ representation.
Russell T Davies, best known as being behind iconic shows like Queer As Folk and Doctor Who, has shared his concerns about what the rise of streaming platform Disney+ could mean for LGBTQ+ representation.
Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Russell said: “Can I just say my one negative worry is the rise of Disney actually. I love a Disney show, I love a Disney film, I love these things, but that is a giant. Disney+ is barely a year [old] and it is vast already.
He added: “It’s already started charging for your live-action Mulan, so you can see the money rollercoasting towards it, and my great worry with huge monoliths like that is it’s family orientated, it’s family friendly.”
Russell then spoke about the many acquistions of other studios that Disney has made recently, as well as the lack of LGBTQ+ content on Disney+, saying: “Disney is out to buy all of these companies and will keep buying them, and then, as a gay man, I’m sitting there going ‘Well where is my content?’
“When Disney+ launched they had 3,931 hours of entertainment, it took 23 weeks to watch, I could watch the gay content in half an hour and that’s really important to me and really scares me.’”
He highlighted what happened with the Love, Simon spin-off, Love, Victor, which was initially going to be on the streaming platform. However, the programme moved to Hulu after Disney executives voiced concerns over ‘adult themes’ within the show. These themes amounted to “alcohol use, marital issues and sexual exploration.”
“It had a series called Love, Victor, which is a television spin-off of the film Love, Simon, which is a gay series,” he explained. “They moved it on to Hulu. They commissioned it and developed it, then they moved it.
“There’s a small sign there of what will happen once this free-for-all becomes great big monoliths, as it will.”
Russell’s concerns do have some validation, as the series creator for The Owl House, that made history with Disney’s first bisexual leading character, was told by certain Disney leadership not to “represent the LGBTQ+ community.”
Dana Terrace said on social media that it was always her intention to “put queer kids in the main cast,” despite being told by “certain Disney leadership” that she “could NOT represent any form of bi or gay relationship on the channel.”
She added: “I’m bi! I want to write a bi character, dammit! Luckily my stubbornness paid off and now I am VERY supported by current Disney leadership. (Thank you @NashRiskin and team!) Not to mention the amazingness of this crew.”
Alex Hirsch, who created the animated mystery series Gravity Falls, revealed that when he was at Disney, they “FORBADE” him from any “explicit LGBTQ+ representation,” saying: “Apparently ‘happiest place on earth’ meant ‘straightest.'”