Disney responded to the recent casting controversy for their upcoming The Little Mermaid live-action film. Disney previously announced they were race-swapping Ariel with the announcement of R&B singer Halle Bailey taking on the role.
A number of fans criticized Disney for the race-swapping under the #NotMyAriel hashtag.
@Disney OPEN YOUR EYES ! Why change now when you didn’t do it in the past ? #NotMyAriel pic.twitter.com/zrwVBRV1oq
— NotMyAriel (@ChaosRevival) July 5, 2019
I don’t care what anyone says. This is The Little Mermaid and Ariel. #NotMyAriel pic.twitter.com/PB8dHgbOuY
— 😊☺️😁🤓Andrew 🇺🇸🎮🕹🎞📽🎥🎬 (@biohazardfan07) July 7, 2019
— Taryn River (@imtarynriver) July 8, 2019
In response to this criticism Disney took to Instagram via way of FreeForm to issue “an open letter to the Poor, Unfortunate Souls.”
The letter reads:
“Yes. The original author of ‘The Little Mermaid’ was Danish. Ariel…is a mermaid. She lives in an underwater kingdom in international waters and can legit swim wherever she wants (even though that often upsets King Triton, absolute zaddy). But for the sake of argument, let’s say that Ariel, too, is Danish. Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black. Ariel can sneak up to the surface at any time with her pals Scuttle and the *ahem* Jamaican crab Sebastian (sorry, Flounder!) and keep that bronze base tight. Black Danish people, and thus mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair. But spoiler alert – bring it back to the top – the character of Ariel is a work of fiction. So after all this is said and done, and you still cannot get past the idea that choosing the incredible, sensational, highly talented, gorgeous Halley Bailey is anything other than the INSPIRED casting that it is because she “doesn’t look like the cartoon”, oh boy, do I have some news for you…about you.””
The top response on the Instagram post reads, “That was a very unprofessional written response letter. I’m surprised that Disney allowed that. Someone is getting fired tonight.”
Another reads, “If yall want to see a white Ariel just watch the 1989 movie. Dont watch the remake…just dont! But dont deny this opportunity for black people who grew up (b4 Tiana) without a black princess. Also are we forgetting Disney did a live action remake of Cinderalla with Brandy? Many years before the re-remake of Cinderella.”
What do you make of Disney’s response to the casting controversy for The Little Mermaid?