Marvel Studios Demanded Gay-Friendly Signs Erased From Quantumania, Lesbian Exec Victoria Alonso said No
The comprehensive book MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, by Joanna Robinson, Dave Fonzales and Gavin Edwards, debuted today, and it contains some interesting behind-the-scenes information around censorship of LGBTQ+ content for some conservative international markets, and about the tenure of Victoria Alonso, once the highest ranked Latina lesbian executive in Hollywood, who was suddenly terminated this past March.
Alonso originally joined the studio in 2006, dating back to before the first Iron Man film, as chief of visual effects and postproduction. In 2021, she was promoted to President, Physical and Postproduction, VFX and Animation Production. Her March 2023 dismissal was seen as surprisingly abrupt and contentious — at a time when Marvel’s VFX workers were beginning to speak out about mistreatment and overwork. In April, the story got more complicated when it was revealed that there was a settlement over Alonso’s termination, and rumors swirled that she’d been let go for doing PR for Argentina, 1985 — a passion project film produced by Alonso that was in the middle of an Oscars run for Best International Feature Film.
At the time, in response to those rumors, Alonso’s lawyer Patricia Glaser released the following statement: “The idea that Victoria was fired over a handful of press interviews relating to a personal passion project about human rights and democracy that was nominated for an Oscar and which she got Disney’s blessing to work on is absolutely ridiculous. Victoria, a gay Latina who had the courage to criticize Disney, was silenced. Then she was terminated when she refused to do something she believed was reprehensible.”
In MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios, the authors describe some of the cuts made by Marvel to de-gay its films for the Chinese market, including “cutting a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it relationship in Wakanda Forever and excising the queer-friendly signs and flags in the background of the San Francisco scenes of Quantumania,” which required some digital tweaks by the VFX department:
…but it frustrated Victoria Alonso, a queer woman, so much that she refused to make the edits. So did everyone on her team. D’Esposito then went around her and outsourced the job to a VFX contractor. This was a crack in the unified front of Marvel’s leadership team, one of many that would lead to a messy and public fracture.
This came after, also according to the book, “Alonso had broken one of [Marvel head Kevin] Feige’s cardinal rules: don’t speak out publicly against the company” for joining public pressure encouraging Disney to speak out against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill in 2022. According to the authors’ sources, after the “Don’t Say Gay” outcry, Fiege reportedly cautioned Alonso to “‘keep her head down’ and ‘do the work.'”
It’s long been assumed by fans that Marvel has made cuts to gay storylines and relationships in part to make their films more palatable in conservative markets, though Alonso’s work in relationship to those cuts and projects has not been discussed before now. MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios is available wherever you get your books.
Feature image of Victoria Alonso by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney
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