Disney Has a Queerbaiting Problem: Ask's Editors Break Down How It Harms the LGBTQ+ Community

Characters from “Cruella,” “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “Luca.” Photo Courtesy: Disney

We recently spotlighted kids’ TV shows and movies that are centering queer stories and characters, but, with the release of Pixar’s Luca, our panel of writers and editors couldn’t help but feel frustrated all over again. The reason? Luca feels like yet another example of queerbaiting — something that Disney is all too familiar with.

Birthed from LGBTQ+ fans and activists voicing their critiques on the internet, the term “queerbaiting” has been ascribed many definitions, but all of them link back to a central notion: Creators draw viewers in by suggesting queerness. They hook us and get us to pay for their content, but they don’t give us actual nuanced, on-screen representation.

Not only is queerbaiting a missed opportunity to portray the community as a whole in a realistic and authentic manner, but film and TV are also powerful tools with the potential to reach and educate audiences around the world.