‘The Little Mermaid’: Chinese State Run Media Warns Disney To Stop Pushing Racism Narrative Around Fairy Tales Or They Will Lose Their “Magic Glory”

Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney's live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney's live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

An article in China’s Global Time, an English-language outlet run by the Communist Party of China, warns The Walt Disney Company to stop pushing a racism narrative around The Little Mermaid and other classic fairy tales or they will end up losing their “magic glory.”

(L-R): Scuttle (voiced by Awkwafina), Flounder (voiced by Jacob Tremblay), and Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

In an article published this week, Global Times specifically called out The Walt Disney Company for pushing “political correctness” with the casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid.

They claim, “Disney’s decision to cast a person of color as the lead in The Little Mermaid seemingly was made to break stereotypes and promote equality, but so far, the negative reactions outweigh the positive ones.”

“This begs the question of whether Disney’s ‘political correctness’ actions are motivated by capital interests or genuine concern for representation,” Global Times wrote.

Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo by Giles Keyte. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

RELATED: ‘The Little Mermaid’ Expected To Perform Worse Than ‘Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania’ In Its Global Opening Weekend

The outlet went even further by insinuating that The Walt Disney Company is the one creating and spreading the entire racism narrative surrounding the film, “The controversy surrounding Disney’s forced inclusion of minorities in classic films is not about racism, but its lazy and irresponsible storytelling strategy. ”

It then questions, “If the company truly wants to represent marginalized groups, why not create original stories that reflect their experiences instead of turning classic tales into ‘sacrificial lambs’ for political correctness?”

(L-R): Halle Bailey as Ariel and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric in Disney's live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo by Giles Keyte. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

(L-R): Halle Bailey as Ariel and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo by Giles Keyte. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

They even warn Disney to stop going down this path, “When the beautiful stories that have accompanied countless children’s childhoods become arenas for racial conflict, they lose their meaning and become devoid of romance and fantasy, replaced by arguments about skin color.”

“If Disney continues following this path, audiences, especially innocent children will no longer care if the ‘prince and princess live happily ever after,’ but ‘what is the skin color of the prince and princess,’ and the fairy tale will lose its magic glory,” the Global Times concluded.

(L-R): Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric and Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo by Giles Keyte. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

RELATED: Original Ariel Voice Actor Jodi Benson Supports Disney’s Changes To Iconic ‘The Little Mermaid’ Songs: “It’s 2023, So We Have To Grow, We Have To Learn”

Not only did Global Times warn Disney to stop pursuing this strategy in another article published earlier this week, but they also noted that the controversy that they insinuate is being created by Disney is being used by American leftists to push “political correctness” on Chinese audiences.

The article begins by discussing recently reported poor pre-sales in China for The Little Mermaid. It notes that ticketing site Maoyan reported that the film had only sold $85,000 worth of tickets as of Thursday.

The article alleges that a number of people are using these poor pre-sales to target Chinese moviegoers and accuse them of “racial discrimination.”

Not only does it claim they are using the poor pre-sales to make accusations of “racial discrimination,” but it also claims the accusation is done “to impose their politically correct standards on Chinese audiences, and use this to sow discord between China and African groups.”

Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

From there it also points to a poster for The Little Mermaid depicting actress Halle Bailey with blue skin while a U.S. poster shows her with her natural skin color.

It specifically claims that numerous commentators are using the posters to “hint that Chinese audiences are ‘racist.'” It also asserts that The Walt Disney Company released a Chinese version of the U.S. poster.

The Little Mermaid poster

RELATED: Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ Remake Star Jacob Tremblay Stands By Flounder’s Live-Action Redesign: “I Think It Just All Works So Well”

The article goes on to declare, “The vast majority of Chinese audiences do not have any bias against a black Little Mermaid and would rather evaluate the film based on its own merits.”

It then specifically takes aim at American leftists saying they “are imposing their own politically correct values on Chinese audiences, expecting them to embrace the film the same way as Western audiences have. This expectation is unreasonable since Chinese don’t have such political correctness, as the country’s modern history is more about being invaded by Westerners rather than colonizing or oppressing black people.”

“Instead, China has always maintained brotherly relations with Africa and has never needed an ‘atonement’ mentality prevalent in Hollywood,” the Global Times article says.

Halle Bailey as Ariel in Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

After discussing China’s relations with African countries it concludes by making another accusation, “Western ‘white leftist’ netizens using their political correctness to kidnap Chinese audiences is naked cultural hegemony.”

The article finishes, “Some people simply don’t have a clue how to reflect on themselves but only stand on a so-called moral high ground to criticize others. Colonizing a group of people on Earth and then yelling at another group for not sharing its own guilty conscience – how convenient to always be the right one!”

(L-R): Halle Bailey as Ariel and Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

RELATED: Live-Action “The Little Mermaid” Tie-In Book Reveals Ursula Now Defeated By Ariel Instead Of Prince Eric

Global Times had previously published an article in 2019 discussing Bailey’s casting as Ariel and asserted that “Chinese audiences aren’t buying into the casting decision.”

They added, “Although some Chinese netizens think Bailey is beautiful and sweet, they generally hold the opinion that the casting choice is a disruption of the character who originally appeared as a white princess with red hair in the Disney cartoon.”

Melissa McCarthy as Ursula in Disney’s live-action THE LITTLE MERMAID. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

What do you make of China’s warning to The Walt Disney Company and its accusations against American leftists?

NEXT: Disney’s Live-Action ‘The Little Mermaid’ Star Halle Bailey Says Remake Is “Updating” Story’s Themes: “We’ve Definitely Changed That Perspective Of Just Her Wanting To Leave The Ocean For A Boy”

Mentioned This Article:

More About: