“Cocomelon Lane” made waves on social media this week for an episode featuring a same-sex couple whose son wears a tiara and a tutu, leading some to brand the program as “woke”—though Netflix and children’s programs have embraced pro-LGBTQ content in recent years.
“Cocomelon Lane,” an animated spin-off of the wildly popular children’s program “Cocomelon,” features a musical number in which a gay couple sings to their son, who briefly dances in a tiara and tutu, about the importance of being true to himself.
In the scene, the child holds both a tiara and a spinning hat in his hands while his parents sing: “If you’re not sure what to choose, think about all the things you like to do—just be you.”
The clip circulated on social media this week and angered anti-“woke” conservatives, who criticized the inclusion of LGBTQ content in a children’s program.
“Cocomelon Lane” was the tenth-most-viewed program in the United States on Netflix between Dec. 11 and Dec. 17, its fifth week in the top 10, according to Netflix.
Several pundits for the Daily Wire, a conservative media organization, criticized the clip. Matt Walsh said the clip is an example of “left-wing indoctrination” and said “Netflix needs the full Bud Light treatment,” referring to the conservative boycott of the beer company after it came under fire for collaborating with a transgender influencer. Ben Shaprio accused the program of “confusing” children and “indoctrinating them into a particular leftist point of view about human relationships and gender and sex.” Daily Wire co-founder Jeremy Boreing said programs like these are why the Daily Wire founded Bentkey, a conservative streaming service that produces children’s content.
Though Walsh called for a Netflix boycott, the streaming service has long been supportive of LGBTQ visibility in media and in children’s programming. A 2023 study of LGBTQ representation on television by advocacy organization GLAAD found Netflix had more LGBTQ characters than other streaming services, a finding it said was consistent with previous years. Some of these characters are on children’s programs, including the series “Dead End: Paranormal Park,” an animated series that follows a gay transgender character, and “Princess Power,” an animated series in which one character has two fathers. The GLAAD report said it is “more important than ever to have content made for kids and families that depict the LGBTQ community in a positive and empowering way” because of the onslaught of anti-LGBTQ legislation across the country, some of which impacts children’s education. Rebecca Sugar, creator of the animated show “Steven Universe,” told LGBTQ outlet Them shows that “imagined the world with no LGBTQIA+ people in it” can imply to LGBTQ youth that “a perfect world doesn’t include you in it.”
Other films and television series have come under fire from conservatives in recent months for going “woke,” some of which target young audiences. In September, the children’s animated series “Rubble & Crew,” a spin-off of “Paw Patrol,” was criticized by the same right-wing pundits for featuring a nonbinary character. Though the character’s gender identity was not explicitly discussed on the show, some clues included the character’s pink, white and blue socks, the colors of the transgender pride flag. Disney’s “Elemental” was also criticized for featuring a nonbinary character, the first in a Disney film. Remakes of older Disney films, including “The Little Mermaid” and “Snow White,” have also been criticized by conservative pundits for putting more modern spins on classic stories. The upcoming “Snow White” remake has sparked anger for star Rachel Zegler’s comments that the princess is “not going to be saved by the prince, and she’s not going to be dreaming about true love,” leading the Daily Wire to announce its own conservative “Snow White” film.