Hypocrisy, thy name is identity politics – After spending the past few months accusing anyone critical of Ariel’s race-swapping in the live-action The Little Mermaid of being a hateful bigot, Disney’s more identity politics-obssessed fans have now hypocritically taken to outright attacking newly cast actress Sydney Elizabeth Agudong for not being adequately ‘dark enough’ to portray Nani in the studio’s upcoming live-action take on Lilo & Stitch.
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Agudong’s casting as the older of film’s two sisters was first announced on April 13th, courtesy of an exclusive published by The Hollywood Reporter.
An up-and-coming young actress of Filipino descent whose most notable credits currently include guest spots on the television series NCIS and On My Block, Lilo & Stitch will mark Adugong’s first major cinematic appearance.
However, despite being born and raised in the United States’ island state, Agudong has drawn the ire of the very ‘representation matters’ crowd that Disney has spent recent years cultivating, as according to them, the actress is far too light-skinned compared to her character’s depiction in the original source material.
“Why isn’t she Native Hawaiian?” questioned Twitter user @quyanaanaana. “Why is she so white? Nani IS Native. That is a major part of their story. I’m sure the actress is great, but this is why we need this to stop. This could have gone to a Native actress for a Native story. Actors, start turning down these roles maybe?”
“They cast so well for Lilo, so that makes this abhorrently colorist casting for Nani even more bizarre,” lamented @spiderswarz. “This casting is such an insult to brown-skinned Native Hawaiians and to fans of Nani. Beyond disappointing.”
“seeing a lot of people who aren’t indigenous saying ‘oh but she’s native!’ and ignoring the blatant colorism happening here,” argued @chaopilled. “sydney agudong should not be playing nani.”
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“whitewashing the lilo and stitch casting is not the same as casting Ariel as black,” wrote @AnuheaNihipali. “Positive POC representation subverts racism. whitewashing canonically brown/black characters does not. whiteness has never been made a mockery of in media to need that representation at all.
“Dark skinned women can’t have anything, this is so disappointing,” decried @mihletshemese.
@Ty4fwMEKA even wished physical harm upon the actress, tweeting “A white filipno playing a native Hawaiian Pacific Islander just cuz she was born n raised in Hawaii is disrespectful n I hope Sydney agudingdong chokes.”
And what’s more, while those opposed to Halle Bailey’s casting as Ariel made sure to direct their criticism at Disney and their corporate direction, those upset by Agudong’s casting have taken to directly harassing and insulting the young actress through the comments section of a post made on her public Instagram page (which, it should be noted, has seemingly not been utilized by Agudong in over a year).
“You only got the role just cause you live in hawaii lmao,” declared @puk1blinder. “this is ridiculous”.
“You really took the opportunity for representation from all the darker skinned Hawaiian actresses who could have played Nani and all the darker skinned little Hawaiian girls who will never get to see that representation,” bleated @ohayopo.ko. “Get ur bag but just know we hate ur guts for it.”
“With all the colorism that’s been happening for centuries in polynesian communities/ hollywood its absolutely disgusting that you, a pale half white/half filipina girl, would take the role of a DARK skinned hawaiian woman,” an angry @bluiantra asserted. “you should be ashamed of yourself. you robbed native dark skinned hawaiian woman of this opportunity. i and MILLIONs of others will NOT be watching this movie. hope you’re happy.”
“The role of Nani was never meant for you,” @feliciathegoat89 claimed. “That is one of VERY FEW dark skinned Hawaiian movie characters and you’re just gonna reach your white hands and grab it? Gross.”
As of writing, Disney’s live-action Lilo & Stitch remake has yet to receive an official release date.
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