A debate on Good Morning Britain about whether Toy Story 4 is diverse enough, has been criticised by viewers, calling the segment “silly” and “a load of b*****ks.”
Inspired by BBC Radio 4 film critic Stella Duffy - who recently pilloried the Disney Pixar movie for it’s ableism and lack of black characters on the Saturday Review show - activist Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu joined GMB hosts Kate Garraway, Ben Shephard and Susanna Reid to voice her own views.
“It’s diabolically ignorant of any parent, or adult, to miss the essence of the backlash that Toy Story is facing,” she began. “Children deserve to have a representative, teachable moment of their lived experience.
“We know toys don’t talk. We know they don’t fly and they sure as heck, don’t jump out of buses. But entertainment must always have a moralistic value. Animation and fictional characters take on human characteristics for a reason; to tell a story of good overcoming evil, of love...”
She continued: “Movie companies like Pixar and Disney have a global platform to become part of the evolution of diversity and inclusion. It’s not just about race and gender.”
'It's unfair to place all this weight on a series that has been around for 20 years.'
Is Toy Story 4 lacking in diversity? @afuathescot says there are bigger issues at hand, while @SholaMos1 thinks children's films should have 'intrinsic moral value'. #GMB pic.twitter.com/dTkCrGImxk
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) June 27, 2019
Presenter and writer Afua Adom disagreed, arguing that the film’s message lies elsewhere.
“If you think[it’s] about [human characters] Andy and Bonnie, then you’ve missed the point of Toy Story. It’s about toys,” she said.
“This one’s about Forky, a single-use plastic fork trying to get back to the trash. If we’re talking about a teachable moment, it should be about sustainability.”
Adom went on to draw attention to the fact that some of the new characters are voiced by actors of colour, including Jordan Peele and Ally Maki and that she felt like she saw a diversity onscreen.
“I saw a martian, I saw Mr. Potato Head and I saw a dinosaur going on an adventure,” she continued.
“I think we should be focusing on live-action films where you have two out of ten leads are actors of colour and only 33% of those leads are women. It’s unfair to place all this weight on a series that’s been around for 20 years.”
Viewers chimed in online, with one saying: “This diversity row is just pure silly. Do you honestly think parents and children are analysing the film to see whether it measures up in terms of diversity.
“I am 10000000% for having diversity, but you’re taking this toy story thing too personally!!”
Another joked: “They need to get a bloody grip !!! It has a family of POTATOES for crying out loud.”
This diversity row in Toy Story 4 is just pure silly. Do you honestly think parents and children are analysing the film to see whether it measures up in terms of diversity. I am 10000000% for having diversity, but you’re taking this toy story thing too personally!!
— Matt Barson (@MattBarson2) June 27, 2019
They are toys! & yes there are no black leads but some of them are overweight , green, put together differently &Jesse is a bad ass girl. There's diversity but more importantly there's morality & humour both really needed these days. #ToysStory4
— Kim Khajehnoori (@Contakk) June 27, 2019
Or films can just be films and not be propaganda for the things you want.
You are arguing about a CGI films make believe toys races... It moments like these you should stop and think about what you are saying...
— Disarae (@Disarae_Games) June 27, 2019
One Twitter user begged that we “keep bloody politics out of kid’s cartoons,” while another claimed: “This sort of nonsense doesn’t help it makes it worse.
“Was finding something worth while to talk about this morning that difficult you had to air this rubbish.”
“They are toys,” one more added. “Yes there are no black leads but some of them are overweight , green, put together differently &Jesse is a bad ass girl. There's diversity but more importantly there's morality & humour both really needed these days.”
Starring the voice talents of Keanu Reeves, Annie Potts, Keegan-Michael Key and of course, Tim Allen and Tom Hanks, Toy Story 4 sees Buzz Lightyear and Woody set out to find Bonnie’s beloved toy Forky after he gets lost during a road trip.
It’s in UK cinemas now.