Disney’s text-to-speech function on social media platform designed to glitch when LGBTQ words are typed

Last Friday marked the second anniversary of the Disney+ streaming platform, and as part of the first-ever Disney+ Day celebration, Disney unveiled plans for the release of upcoming films, shorts, and new Disney original series.

Credit: What’s On Disney Plus

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Some of the platform’s celebratory offerings overlapped into the parks with early entry for subscribers, and there was even a promotion for new and returning subscribers to receive their first month of Disney+ for only $1.99, instead of the usual $7.99 monthly user fee.

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Yet another offering from the platform is a new text-to-speech function on TikTok that allows users to type in words that will then be voiced by Marvel’s Rocket the Raccoon, Stitch from Disney’s Lilo and Stitch, or Star Wars‘ C-3PO. The default character voice is Rocket’s, but Stitch and C-3PO can be unlocked with special code words.

Credit: Marvel

But as some users found out over the weekend, the new function was apparently designed to disallow some LGBTQ words, such as “gay” and “lesbian.” If a user texted one of these words to be spoken by the character, the character’s voice would simply skip over the word, as if it wasn’t able to read it or as though it had never been typed.

If a user typed the word “gay” or “lesbian,” an error message would appear, saying “Text-to-speech isn’t supported for this language.”


Credit: The Verge

Strangely enough, however, the function had no problem with words like “homophobia” and “homophobic.” And if users wanted to get creative and provide misspelled but phonetic versions of the words that were being skipped, then the voice would read them aloud.

As of Monday afternoon, though, the function seems to be working, regardless of the words that are used. At this time, it’s uncertain whether this resulted from a glitch or from an intentional setting. It is also unclear whether the function is TikTok’s or Disney’s responsibility. At the time of this post, neither has made a comment about the function’s selective hearing or about why it’s no longing behaving as it was.

About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!