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The Texas Republican was griping about Disney’s opposition to Florida’s new “Don’t Say Gay” law that critics fear will endanger LGBTQ children who are often already bullied, ostracized and isolated at home or in their communities.
Since acknowledging the fears and concerns of marginalized groups is not exactly Cruz’s “brand,” he chose instead to make a misleading joke that Disney is going to start showing Mickey Mouse and Pluto having sex.
“I think there are people who are misguided, trying to drive Disney stepping in, saying, you know, in every episode now they’re going to have, you know, Mickey and Pluto going at it,” he said on his “Verdict” podcast.
“Thank you for that image, senator,” co-host Michael Knowles joked.
“But it’s just like, come on, guys, these are kids and, you know, you could always shift to Cinemax if you want that!” Cruz said. “Look, I’m a dad, it used to be that you could put your kids on the Disney Channel and be like, all right, something innocuous will happen.”
Disney has not actually decided to depict the animated characters “going at it,” and Cruz was obviously attempting a joke. But it also seemed like he would be perfectly OK if people walked away with this misconception.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) slams Disney for opposing Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law:
“In every episode now, they’re gonna have Mickey and Pluto going at it … You can always shift to Cinemax if you want that.” pic.twitter.com/iZX82OiyC2
— The Recount (@therecount) April 19, 2022
In the meantime, his made-up scenario definitely creeped out many Twitter users.
In this 38 second clip, Ted completely makes something up (Disney is showing gay sex!) and then gets mad at the thing he's made up (my kids can't watch Disney anymore because of the gay sex). https://t.co/EoWHMlLNCM
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 19, 2022
Cruz will say he’s joking, some Qanon people will think Disney is making adult content https://t.co/DkocfV1ZOi
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) April 19, 2022
Shorter Ted Cruz: 'It's amazing how much people are misrepresenting the Florida "Don't Say Gay" law, but those groomers at Disney are going to have Mickey and Pluto having sex in every episode now to try and indoctrinate your kids.' https://t.co/f9ncDUW7et
— The Wokest Numbersmuncher (@NumbersMuncher) April 19, 2022
This man is openly fetishizing childrens’ cartoon characters in public and they’ll still say gay people are the ones telling your kids weird stuff https://t.co/QdHSsIlbvl
— Kat Tenbarge (@kattenbarge) April 19, 2022
Imagine how disgusting your brain has to be that when you think of LGBTQ+ inclusion in animation you INSTANTLY think of a mouse fucking his pet dog https://t.co/9ONWXgIJ5T
— Jay Jurden Just Jokes...Again 5/21/22 (@JayJurden) April 19, 2022
We really need Josh Hawley to help crack down on whatever it is Ted Cruz is dreaming up. https://t.co/5v3mZOugPm
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) April 19, 2022
Do people suggesting this stuff realize they’re the ones who sound sex-obsessed and creepy? https://t.co/eaQrMs9HVw
— Elise Foley (@elisefoley) April 19, 2022
Ted Cruz is the only person on earth who grew up wanting to be the dad from Footloose. https://t.co/YA0tFb3Iay
— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) April 19, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.