Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch reacts to Disney honoring Pride Month by pointing out it doesn’t have the best history with LGBTQ+ representation.
Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch had a strong response to a recent tweet by Disney celebrating Pride Month, calling out the company’s hypocrisy. Hirsch’s animated series aired on Disney Channel and Disney XD during its two-season run that concluded in 2016. Gravity Falls centered on a set of twins, Mabel and Dipper Pines, who spend their summer with their great-uncle in the titular town. The Oregon-set show focused on their day-to-day adventures helping their uncle run his “Mystery Shack” and investigating supernatural mysteries. Gravity Falls was beloved by critics and viewers alike, with the series earning several awards throughout its two seasons.
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The show was also praised for its LGBTQ+ representation, with the characters Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durland voicing their love for one another in the series finale. However, Hirsch has made it clear he would have liked to do more. In August 2020, he reacted to an episode of fellow Disney Channel animated series The Owl House that featured two female characters dancing together. Hirsch celebrated the “explicitly queer ANIMATED MAIN CHARACTERS on DISNEY TV,” revealing that Disney “forbade” him “from any explicit LGBTQ+ rep” on Gravity Falls. However, he also praised Disney for its progress, saying “Props where props are due! This time, Disney – you did good.“
Now, Hirsch has reacted to a tweet from Disney in celebration of Pride Month, which began June 1. The company shared an image of its iconic characters in front of rainbow imagery, with the caption “There’s room for everyone under the rainbow.” Hirsch pointed out the hypocrisy of this sentiment considering Disney’s disappointing history with LGBTQ+ representation.
To any creative at Disney TV, Feature, Publishing or Streaming: please mercilessly spam your execs with “there’s room for everyone under the rainbow” next time they tell you to “please revise” your LGBTQ+ character for “not being Disney appropriate”
— Alex Hirsch (@_AlexHirsch) June 2, 2021
In a follow up response to another user, Hirsch offered a little more clarity on his comments. The user cited the positive portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters on The Owl House, leading Hirsch to argue that some of Disney’s more recent business decisions “heavily walk back much of that progress.” He suggested the company is currently “operating from a place of fear” and indicated his criticism was made “in hopes of seeing less fear from them in the future.”
Considering Disney’s less than stellar history with LGBTQ+ representation, Hirsch’s commentary is completely fair. While it’s true that Disney has made progress in depicting LGBTQ+ characters, the mega corporation still has a long way to go. Many attempts by Disney to be more inclusive have come up short, with the much-discussed “gay moment” in 2017’s Beauty and the Beast, for example, largely dismissed as insufficient.
Hirsch is also offering an important perspective in that he has a personal relationship with Disney due to Gravity Falls, making him uniquely suited to comment on the company’s LGBTQ+ representation or lack there of. More than most, he knows what goes on behind closed doors, as he alludes to in his tweets. It’s understandable he feels the need to call Disney out for not practicing what it preaches, at least publicly. Hopefully, as Hirsch noted in his follow-up comment, bringing some increased attention to the important issue of LGBTQ+ representation will result in less fear from Disney and other major companies going forward.
Source: Alex Hirsch
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