Disney Fans Want to Cancel Flynn Rider from ‘Tangled’

We know Flynn Rider was a thief, but why are Disney fans now calling for him to be “canceled?”

Canceling refers to the process of repealing one’s support and/or enjoyment for someone or something in reaction to problematic actions and/or elements. Notable recent examples of the so-called “cancel culture” within fan spaces online include J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter book series, and Walt Disney World’s Splash Mountain due to its connection to the 1946 film Song of the South, which many cite as racist.

A History of 'Tangled' at the Disney Parks • DisneyTips.com

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Of course, Disney lovers don’t actually want to cancel Rapunzel’s love interest from the Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Tangled (2010), but rather the voice actor who plays his character, actor Zachary Levi. In addition, Levi is well-known for his roles in Amazon Prime’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Shazam!, DC Comic’s live-action film adaptations for the comic book superhero of the same name alongside Disney Channel star Asher Angel.

So, what did Levi do? On Saturday, the star stated that he “Hardcore agree(d)” with a tweet asking if Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company now well-known for creating one of the three initial Covid-19 vaccines, constituted “a real danger to the world.” However, the Tangled actor later attempted to clarify that he meant to reference Pfizer’s $2.3-billion settlement with the U.S. government as a result of “criminal and civil liability arising from the illegal promotion of certain pharmaceutical products” back in 2009 rather than what many assumed to be an anti-vaccine stance.

EXCLUSIVE: Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi Call 'Tangled: The Series' Their 'Dream Come True' | Entertainment Tonight

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Even so, many fans felt this response was only motivated by Levi’s desire to mitigate bad press before the recent release of the Shazam! sequel. James Gunn, the film’s director who is also responsible for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, said that he can’t justify removing Levi from the role just due to discrepancy, regardless of what Zachary actually meant, because it was not “morally reprehensible. In fact, Gunn told the LA Times:

I don’t have a list of things that somebody should say because of what I think. And you know, I can’t be changing my plans all the time because an actor says something that I don’t agree with.

Zachary Levi shoots down 'Shazam!' speculation | CNN

Credit: CNN

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Even so, some fans, even those who once enjoyed his performance as the Disney prince, have brought up additional controversial statements the star has made, including alleged transphobia, opinions on who can dictate what is racist and sexist, as well as mocking Amber Heard during her trial against Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp. So far, the Walt Disney Company hasn’t given Levi the same reaction it did Depp.

This story is still developing, with Levi’s representatives currently refusing to comment. DisneyDining will provide updates if and when they become available.


About Spencer Johnette

Spencer is a lifelong lover of theme parks, princesses, and Disney history that recently relocated to Northern California. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, where she was the founder and first president of the campus Disney Club. A former Cast Member still mourning the loss of the Disney Store, she now haunts the Walt Disney Family Museum halls and shares her opinions with anyone who will listen @gothelsflower.