The Love, Simon television series will no longer be airing on Disney+.
Variety, citing unnamed sources, reports that "Disney felt many issues explored on the show, including alcohol use and sexual exploration, would not fit in with the family-friendly content on Disney Plus," the new streaming arm of the family entertainment company.
Instead, Love, Simon will air on Hulu under a new title, Love, Victor, to reflect the name of the show's new lead character, played by Michael Cimino.
The series is set in the same world as the young-adult novel by Becky Albertalli, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which became a groundbreaking 2018 film, Love, Simon, about a gay teen who fears being outed by a peer.
The movie, helmed by gay director Greg Berlanti, did showcase some drinking at a party but was remarkably chaste in its depiction of sexuality. The protagonist, Simon, spends the majority of the film speculating about the identity of an anonymous love interest he corresponds with via email and only kisses him at the conclusion upon discovering his identity.
Craig Erwich, the senior vice president of original productions at Hulu, praised the "funny, heartfelt and deeply affecting" project, whose "contemporary lens and honest storytelling make it a perfect fit for the millions of fans on Hulu who already watch and see themselves in series like Looking for Alaska, Pen15, and Grown-ish" — shows that also center on young adults and feature LGBTQ characters.
The 10-episode first season will debut in June, Pride Month, on the streaming service, which is owned by the Walt Disney Company but not as tied in with the "family-friendly" brand. A second season is reportedly already in talks.
This is not the first time a production starring a queer lead has been moved from Disney+ . High Fidelity, starring Zoe Kravitz as a bi woman, also made the transition to Hulu prior to its February 14 premiere. Disney+ does showcase a few shows with LGBTQ themes — there are gay characters on High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, and a recent episode of Marvel's Hero Project focused on a 12-year-old transgender activist. Freeform, a TV channel owned by Disney, is also rich with rainbow diversity.
However, historically, queer representation in Disney films has been essentially nonexistent. The first clearly LGBTQ character in the studio's nearly century-long history will appear in an upcoming Pixar film, Onward, voiced by lesbian actor Lena Waithe.