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

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!