GMB viewers call 'Toy Story 4' diversity debate 'silly'

Amy West

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.

Toy Story 4
Film critic Stella Duffy recently criticised 'Toy Story 4' for its anti-feminism, ableism and 'lack of black characters' (Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios)

“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.”

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.”

Good Morning Britain
Good Morning Britain

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.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 11:  (L-R) Ally Maki, director Josh Cooley, and Keegan-Michael Key attend the world premiere of Disney and Pixar's TOY STORY 4 at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
Ally Maki, director Josh Cooley, and Keegan-Michael Key attend the world premiere of Disney and Pixar's TOY STORY 4. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

“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.”

Read more: Tom Hanks shares the sweet exchange he has with Woody on the red carpet

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.”

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.