It’s 2021, it’s Pride Month, and yet here we are again — another Disney movie, another outraged politician. Only this time around, Uncle Jesse is getting involved.
It all started with a May 30 tweet from conservative congressional candidate Omar Navarro. “The new Disney Cruella with Emma Stone just ruined my childhood with an openly flamboyant gay in the movie,” he wrote. “Disney persist [sic] shoving the LGBT agenda down our throat.”
John Stamos, 57, quickly jumped into the fray. “If that ruined your childhood, I hope you didn’t watch Full House,” Stamos wrote. “Three single men, living under one roof raising kids in San Francisco…”
Navarro has yet to acknowledge the response. Stamos played fan-favourite (and resident babe) Uncle Jesse on the classic sitcom, which aired from 1987 to 1995. He later returned to the role that made him a household name for the popular Netflix reboot, Fuller House, which ended in 2020 after five seasons.
Emma Stone’s highly-anticipated turn as the iconic villain hit Disney+ on May 28. The edgy, yet still family-friendly, flick is a prequel to 101 Dalmatians, chronicling Estella/Cruella’s early life in 1970s London. British actor John McCrea plays Artie, a member of Cruella’s fashionable entourage, who also happens to be the first openly gay original character in a live-action Disney film.
“If I had a character growing up like that to watch on the screen I would’ve fallen in love,” McCrea recently told Pride magazine. “Also with the idea that he’s completely well-adjusted, very happy, and has a real lust for life. Those are things I’d find so exciting. He lives by his own rules. A wonderful line he says is, ‘Normal is the harshest insult of all.’ A wonderful mentality to have.”
This isn’t the first time politicians (or some parents) have accused Disney of “pushing the LGBTQ+ agenda” in their recent films. In the 2017 live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, the media giant changed LeFou (Josh Gad), the villainous Gaston’s (Luke Evans) eager-to-please sidekick, to a gay character. This caused an Alabama movie theatre to controversially refuse to screen the box office hit.
With progress and change often comes pushback. This certainly won’t be the last time Disney, and other media powerhouses, receive social media callouts from a small, yet vocal, minority. But if the resounding successes of Cruella and Beauty and the Beast tell us anything, it’s that representation matters — despite the small handful that will try to tell us otherwise.