Disney has cut a scene from its new DVD and online streaming releases of the animated film Toy Story 2 that satirizes a common Hollywood trope – a powerful male using the promise of career advancement for sexual motives.
The deleted clip features a male character named “Stinky Pete” making sexually suggestive remarks to two Barbie dolls, promising to land them roles in the series’ next installment – Toy Story 3. Toy Story 2 was released in 1999, almost 20 years before the #MeToo movement prompted allegations against a number of high-profile Hollywood figures, including the film’s director, John Lasseter.
Media commentators have pointed out that the move is likely in response to heightened awareness and condemnation of sexual harassment and abuse on the part of celebrities and others in positions of power. Some have argued that the fact that a joke about such a thing featured even in a children’s movie shows how the problem has been treated with flippancy.
The scene appears in a “faux bloopers” reel that runs during the credits, which was a common gimmick of early Pixar movies. These served largely to pack some extra comedy into the film for audiences, but also contained some insider satire about the entertainment industry.
It is not the first time Disney has removed controversial scenes from one of its films. Earlier releases contained racist and sexist tropes. For example, a scene in the 1941 animated film Dumbo – about a baby elephant with oversized ears – was cut from its subscription streaming service Disney+. In the scene, a group of cartoon crows with stereotypically African-American voices and mannerisms help the eponymous main character to fly. Another film, the part-live action, part-animated Song of the South was removed entirely for similar reasons.
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