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Disney Accused of “Queerbaiting” in Newest Animated Film

Disney accused of queerbaiting Inside Out 2
Credit: Disney/Pixar

In 2015, audiences were taken inside the mind of a young girl named Riley, whose life is changed forever when she moves from the Midwest to San Francisco, California.

As Riley struggles to adjust, her emotions are taken on a wild ride. And unlike other films, Inside Out didn’t tell the story of Riley, but of the emotions in her brain. As a child, Riley’s emotions were limited to Joy, Sadness, Pain, Anger, and Disgust.

Inside Out

Credit: Disney/Pixar

It’s been nine years since Inside Out was released in theaters, and we are finally getting a sequel!

Inside Out 2 (2024) will hit theaters this summer and will bring back Riley’s childhood emotions, along with some brand-new ones! In addition to Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust, Inside Out 2 will introduce Anxiety, Embarrassment, Envy, and Ennui.

After teasing fans for months, Disney and Pixar finally released a full trailer for Inside Out 2However, it wasn’t Riley’s new emotions that had people talking.

Related: Big News Revealed About Pixar’s Upcoming Inside Out 2

Instead, many people were wondering if Disney and Pixar were indicating that Riley is gay. Some went so far as to accuse the studios of “queerbaiting” in the new trailer.

If you are unfamiliar with the term, “queerbaiting” — defined by Oxford Languages — is “the incorporation of apparently gay characters or same-sex relationships into a film, television show, etc. as a means of appealing to gay and bisexual audiences while maintaining ambiguity about the characters’ sexuality.”

Inside Out 2

Credit: Disney/Pixar

Related: Controversy Plagues Inside Out 2, Concerns Over New Characters and Casting Choices Arise

Some viewers thought that Disney was trying to bring in a larger audience by teasing that Riley might be gay or bisexual, but she actually won’t be.

I cannot wait for Inside Out 2 to release and its NOT GAY at all. Another sh***y sequel made by Pixar, teasing queerness at the youths face, laughing as they do nothing. Disney will never feature us homo’s in a major film, especially anything Pixar.

Disney has been creating more diverse characters in recent years, but hasn’t had a movie that focuses on a gay or lesbian character.

They have been characters in multiple films, but have not been the central focus. That has led some to declare that they will not believe that Riley is gay until it is explicitly said in the film.

I’m refusing to believe that Riley in ‘Inside Out 2’ will be gay, I’ve seen enough queerbaiting from Disney. Only if she ends up saying romatic things to the other girl and kiss her, and/or say she’s gay/Lesbian/bi/queer/questioning I’ll accept it. The end.

However, journalist Jade King says that, even if Riley isn’t gay, the trailer can still be celebrated. And Disney and Pixar do not need to be accused of “queerbaiting:”

My opinion on the new trailer is a predominantly queer one, but as a pansexual trans woman who writes about LGBTQ+ media for a living, of course I was going to come away with that. Even from major corporations like Disney, I still see myself in and celebrate representation such as this, especially if it gives hope to future generations or those still in the closet, or perhaps even lack a home environment that’s safe to embrace who they are.

Riley Inside Out 2

Credit: Disney/Pixar

Inside Out 2 will premiere in theaters nationwide on June 14, 2024. The film will see stars Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, and Lewis Black return as Joy, Sadness, and Anger, respectively.

Tony Hale will provide the voice for Fear, and Liza Lapira will voice Disgust. Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling — the original voice actors for Fear and Disgust — chose not to return to the sequel.

Stranger Things star Maya Hawke will be the voice of Anxiety, and The Bear actress Ayo Edebiri will voice Envy. Adéle Exarchopoulos will provide the voice of Ennui, and Paul Walter Hauser will voice Embarrassment. Diane Lane will also return as the voice of Riley’s mom.

Do you think Disney and Pixar “queerbaited” audiences with the Inside Out 2 trailer? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

7 comments

  1. If you are looking for something you will find it. People are dissecting movies instead of watching them for entertainment.

  2. Disney is becoming more and more disgusting with each new movie or idea.

  3. With the garbage that Disney has been putting out good chance this is another queerbaiting movie. How about they put out a movie that is for children. A movie that does not have characters suffering from gender identity disorder.

  4. Get a life people. Haven’t you ever had a teenage girl yourself ? Have you ever participated in the team sport? Have you seen grown men slap each other on the butt? Or how homo erotic wrestling might be? Just because it’s disney, you think it’s queer baiting. Wake up and smell the last hundred years.

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