Disney has been under fire for their involvement in the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill that was recently passed through the Florida state legislature. Though Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek has recently apologized for the handling of the issue, this came after an extended period of silence from the House of Mouse. As Chapek attempted to save face, many perceived that he attempted to gaslight marginalized communities by praising Disney’s ability to tell diverse stories like Encanto and Modern Family instead of fully accepting responsibility for the massive financial support offered to the highly controversial bill.
While Chapek has deflected blame for Disney’s donations in excess of $300,000 to politicians who supported the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, mega-producer and head of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige along with his cast of superheroes have continued to offer his full fledged support to the LGBTQ+ community.
Marvel Studio’s official statement reads:
We strongly denounce any and ALL legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. Marvel Studio 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.
We stand with Marvel Studios' statement: https://t.co/XX1FJuB2K3
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) March 16, 2022
Mark Ruffalo’s Tweet reads:
Gay! Gay! Gay! #SayGayAnyway
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) March 9, 2022
Marvel has consistently been at the forefront of promoting diverse stories that do more than just offer lip service to marginalized communities. Black Panther was groundbreaking in the celebration of black culture and allowed audiences to truly marvel at African traditions and characters never portrayed in the superhero genre.
Kevin Feige has never shied away from amplifying diversity within the MCU. It has been rumored that Feige has expressed enormous frustrations with Disney because of not being more diverse with their storytelling efforts. During the release of Eternals, a film that highlights one of the first meaningful onscreen representations of a LGBTQ+ partnerships between Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and his loving husband (Breaking Fast‘s Haaz Sleiman), Feige commented on the importance of inclusion in the MCU and his hopes for the future of the MCU: “I think it is extremely well done, and I look forward to that level of inclusion in our future movies being less of a topic…”.
Feige has also been quoted as saying, “There have been gay superheroes in the comics. It is more than past time in the movies… It’s just the start.”. The inclusion of a nuclear family featuring strong, LGBTQ+ parental characters in Eternals is monumental in furthering the representation of the LGBTQ+ community.
Phase 4 of the MCU has brought much needed diversity to their catalog of superheroes with films like Eternals and Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and continuing in 2022 with Ms. Marvel, She Hulk, Moon Knight, and Black Panther 2. While Disney continues to fein awareness, Kevin Feige will continue his fight to push diversity and amplify marginalized voices within the MCU.
What diverse superhero would you like to see included in the MCU?
You can stream Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and the five series in Marvel’s Phase Four so far — Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s WandaVision, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, Marvel’s What If…?, and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye— on Disney+ anytime.