While not specifically calling out Disney’s recent debacle surrounding Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy made it known Saturday that she and her fellow PGA Milestone Award recipient George Lucas are on the right side of history, giving a shout-out to the impact of diverse, female and LGBTQ artists in the motion picture industry.
“Steven, George and I met at the dawning of new age in motion picture history, and we worked side by side through one revolution in our industry after another,” the producer behind 120 Oscar nominations said during the PGA Awards tonight. “Revolutions not only in the means of moviemaking, and in the ways movies reach audiences, but also in the composition of our business.”
She added, “As women, artists of color, LGBTQ and differently labeled artists and producers, who have fought for and won a place at the table, propelling our community toward more inclusive, diverse, richer, more sophisticated and nuanced sense of responsibilities for social, racial and economic justice.”
Of late, Disney CEO Bob Chapek has been at the center of a firestorm that began over the company’s support for state legislators sponsoring the bill that effectively bans virtually all discussion or teaching about the LGBTQ+ community and “sexual orientation or gender identity” in the state’s public school system from kindergarten to the third grade. Chapek’s attempts at damage control have made the situation even worse, creating ire among a number of Disney employees.
Bob Chapek’s Toughest Test Yet: Disney’s “Worst Week” Over ‘Don’t’ Say Gay’ Response Could Lead To “Profound Change”
Kennedy’s speech tonight follows Marvel Studios’ tweet earlier this week against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, as well as former Disney CEO Bob Iger.
The Disney comic book franchise label tweeted earlier this week, “We strongly denounce any and ALL legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. Marvel Studios stands for hope, inclusivity and strength; and we proudly stand with the community. Today, we pledge to continue our strong commitment as allies who promote the values of equality, acceptance and respect.”
Iger said on February 24, “I’m with the President on this! If passed, this bill will put vulnerable, young LGBTQ people in jeopardy.”
I'm with the President on this! If passed, this bill will put vulnerable, young LGBTQ people in jeopardy. https://t.co/fJZBzre4yM
— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) February 25, 2022
On Friday, it was reported that Pixar was re-inserting a same-sex kiss moment between two women back into the forthcoming Toy Story spinoff Lightyear. This was following a leaked letter from the Pixar staff that railed against Chapek and his handling of the Florida bill, as well as Disney’s history in suppressing same-sex elements in Pixar projects.
“George has built a universe, cosmos that mirrors the world, its epic journeys, sacred quests , myths, legends, romances, conflicts and contradictions — a grand synthesis of imagination and dreams,” said Kennedy in accepting her Milestone Award at the PGA Awards.
“George’s universe has welcomed in successive generations of new and visionary filmmakers,” she continued. “George entrusted with the stewardship of his universe, my gratitude for his belief in me is almost as vast as my admiration for his achievements.”
Steven Spielberg, who is also up for the top PGA Feature prize tonight for West Side Story, presented Kennedy and Lucas with their Milestone Award tonight. The filmmaker said about Lucas, “We competed against each other and propped each other, made each other better. I would not be overreaching today to call you my brother.”
Spielberg added about Lucas’ cinematic footprint with Star Wars and CGI pioneering, “you feel the impact he’s had on your life and the life of your kids and your grandkids.”
“In the way that George is my brother, so is Kathy my sister,” the Indiana Jones director said while pointing out how Kennedy has been a force at the the trade association as a former president, fighting for producer representation.
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