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Pixar has removed a Hollywood “casting couch” joke from Toy Story 2

The 20-year-old movie’s quick post-credits gag takes on a harsher light in the #MeToo era.

Woody watching Stinky Pete in Toy Story 2 Pixar/Walt Disney Pictures

It’s easy to forget that Pixar used to have its own Marvel-esque tradition of including additional scenes during the credits of its films. But from 1998’s A Bug’s Life until 2004’s The Incredibles, the pioneering animation studio indulged in fake blooper reels, dotting its credit sequences with engineered “outtakes” from the movie that had just concluded. Only a handful of Pixar titles during this period used the gag — including 1999’s Toy Story 2, whose blooper reel has been noticeably edited in the film’s latest digital and Blu-Ray release.

One of the Toy Story 2 blooper reel’s “jokes” is difficult to laugh at in light of today’s #MeToo-inflected political climate. In the scene, Stinky Pete the Prospector — the movie’s villain, voiced by Kelsey Grammer — is seen flirting with a pair of “identical twin” Barbie dolls.

“Y’know, I’m sure I could get you a part in Toy Story 3,” he says, stroking one of the dolls’ hands. Woody catches him in action, and Stinky Pete becomes noticeably flustered, quickly dismissing the women by ushering them out of his packaging.

In 1999, the scene was likely easy to read as just risqué enough to amuse, not offend. But that’s not the case in 2019, when Pete’s implicit quid pro quo offer to the Barbies comes off as a none-too-funny sendup of Hollywood’s very real and harmful “casting couch” history of (typically male) executives wielding their power over ingénues looking to break into Hollywood, by offering them acting roles in exchange for sexual favors.

It’s especially discomforting in the context of Pixar’s own #MeToo problem. John Lasseter, the former CEO of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, left the company in 2018 following numerous allegations of sexual misconduct. These allegations included unwanted physical contact with female employees and repression of minority voices, leading to the departure of original Toy Story 4 scribes Will McCormack and Rashida Jones in November 2017. (Jones later said that their decision to leave was influenced by Pixar’s institutional issues with diversity, not because Lasseter made any advances toward her.)

Members of the forum, an online community centered on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital movie releases, first reported in early June that the scene had been removed from new digital and Blu-Ray editions of Toy Story 2. But the news didn’t get picked up by media outlets until this week, when Vice News published a story about the scene’s removal on July 2. At the time of publication, Vice noted that an official video on Disney UK’s YouTube channel still contained the Stinky Pete joke; after Vice contacted Disney for comment, however, the company quietly removed the clip.

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