Various media outlets have reported that fans of Francesca Hayward are outraged over her apparent ‘white washing’ in the upcoming Cats film based on a small handful of tweets.
On July 19th, the New York Post published an article titled People are furious ‘Cats’ star Francesca Hayward has white fur which claimed that fans of Hayward were outraged that the half-Kenyan, half-white dancer from The Royal Ballet was having the prominence of her skin color erased due to the extensive white fur used to portray her as Victoria The White Cat. Simultaneously, similar articles were run by outlets such as The Daily Mail, Yahoo! Finance, The Sun and Insider, with each outlet proclaiming that the movie was facing “backlash” due to this costuming choice, despite the fact that Victoria has always been a white cat in both name and appearance.
However, it appears that these outlets all focus on a single tweet, posted by Twitter user @tra4shbabey:
so how come you can clearly see this is taylor swift/the entire bottom half of her face is visible, but you wouldn’t know the black lead was black unless you knew her already pic.twitter.com/q8ULl6U6CJ
— 🦝 (@tr4shbabey) July 19, 2019
While these articles do cite other tweets, most of these are short responses to @tr4shbabey’s initial Tweet:
— nerdy and ✨fabulous✨ (@HooiWanV) July 19, 2019
Wow. You cannot tell. That’s deliberate and terrible
— double space after fullstop (@soapachu) July 19, 2019
There’s a weird trend of obscuring actors of color behind prosthetics and cgi that hide their skin. Someone pointed that out to me and I can’t stop noticing it since then.
— meh (@notsamgibson) July 19, 2019
The outrage professed by this small sampling of fans appears to be disingenuously labeled. In fact, despite the focus of these articles reporting on the “outrage,” a cursory search of the replies to @tr4shbabey’s Tweet and of the general Twitter platform show that most fans dismissed these accusations as ridiculous, with most noting that the movie appears to be a standard adaptation of the Cats story with Hayward simply being costumed to appear as the role for which she has been cast.
As Clownfish TV points out, the biggest concern about Cats might just be how “creepy” the Cats look in the first trailer, and have nothing to do with “white washing.”