Howard: Disney is no longer removing the Howard Ashman documentary from Disney+

Disney says it will not remove Howard, the documentary celebrating lyricist Howard Ashman, from its Disney+ streaming platform.

Disney is reversing its decision to pull Howard, the documentary about lyricist Howard Ashman, from Disney+. The film explores Ashman’s achievements, including co-writing songs for the Disney animated classic The Little Mermaid. Ashman, a gay man who also wrote songs for Beauty and the BeastLittle Shop of Horrorsand Aladdin, is one of the most celebrated talents in music, whose contributions to film are as legendary as the projects he’s worked on. When word got out that Howard is part of the list of titles Disney plans to pull from its Disney+ platform (and on the eve of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, no less), people began expressing their anger online.

After yesterday’s uproar about several titles being pulled from the streamer, including WillowThe Mysterious Benedict SocietyThe Mighty Ducks, and more, Disney says it’s removing Howard from the list of titles set to disappear at the end of the month. “The list of titles coming off of Hulu and Disney+ next week is still being finalized,” a Disney rep said, implying more changes could happen before the hammer comes down.

Removing any title from Disney+ is questionable, but pulling Howard from the platform so close to the release of Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid is bizarre. Disney fans were quick to point out the studio’s behavior on social media, with one commenter saying, “Did you enjoy Disney’s The Little Mermaid in theaters? Then come to Disney+, where we spit on the grave of the man responsible for it by removing the excellent documentary film HOWARD! I am paralyzed with fury right now.”

Another commenter wrote: “Disney+ is removing Howard, the documentary about the man who literally saved that company, as well as their only real acknowledgment of a queer figurehead within the studio, right before Pride month. It’s time for Gay Wrath.”

Another title disappearing from Disney+ is Willow, which has LGBTQ+ themes. Many people say stripping the platform of content featuring LGBTQ+ content sends the wrong message to the public, especially when Disney is battling it out with Florida governor Ron DeSantis, whose anti-LGBTQ+ policies endanger countless Floridians with each new policy.

At this time, Disney says it has yet to finalize the content list to remove from Disney+ in the coming weeks.

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