AfterElton asked Disney Channel President Gary Marsh about gay characters. On Shake It Up! a 14-year-old fan of the show brought it to our attention that he interpreted Gunther as gay. Given Disney’s history of being racially diverse and so influential in the lives of young kids, is Disney ever going to be including gay
characters in age appropriate ways? GM: What I said before really remains true. We leave it up to our audience to interpret who these characters are and how they relate to them. It’s great that this child has interpreted Gunther this way and that it speaks to him in a way that makes sense for his life. And that’s what we’re
trying to do, create a diverse cross section of characters on television that kids can have different access points and entry points to connect with. Why is a gay character something a gay teen should have to interpret? Why can’t there be an age appropriate way to specifically include a gay character? On Shake It Up! two of the straight characters go out on a date. Why does the gay kid have to settle
for interpreting [Gunther is gay]? You wouldn’t say that to a black kid. GM: In fact, there’s all sorts of range. That’s a great example. We are colorblind. We do not articulate different parts for different ethnicities. In fact that happens all the time. But, it’s clear when a character is black. GM: Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.