At the D23 expo, Disney announced that actress and singer Halle Bailey from the R&B duo Chloe x Halle would be portraying Ariel in the live-action film The Little Mermaid. This was another addition to Disney’s long list of remakes of original films.
Many have called out the studio on its soulless remakes and token diversity, with this film being no different. But some have criticized the studio for casting a black person for the role, resulting in many nasty and racist tweets.
Fans suggest an alternative mermaid
According to a new tweet that has split fans, The Little Mermaid’s TV series already had a brown character, Gabriella, which it could use to make an original story. The tweet went on to criticize Disney for not working with original characters and stories and resorting to race-swap.
Instead of doing The Little Mermaid, why didn't they just do The Frog Prince? They came up with a reasonable retelling in a good way. Was Tiana not good enough for a live action version or what?
— Venkman's Girl (@VenkmanG) September 14, 2022
This has been what I have said the whole time. Yet people keep calling me racist for knowing this when they don’t.
— Chronlocke (@Chronlocke) September 14, 2022
Furthermore, some even pointed out that Disney did have a film filled with colored characters they could adapt, that being The Princess and the Frog. But this film was criticized for token appeasement that it didn’t represent the black community and the leads were frogs for most of the film.
Is there no pleasing the fans?
Considering the controversial nature of the tweet, many have come in defense of Disney while many have continued to ridicule the studio. Many believe the tweet to be a lost cause as Disney isn’t concerned with an original story as it would require creativity and passion.
Why didn’t they just shelve Ariel for her? Make a whole new story?
— Abstractjwl (@abstractjwl) September 14, 2022
Gabriella will probably show up and STILL be the same skin tone
"Yeah nah with her we didn't feel like being progressive and changing that character"
— Jay Darklighter (@JayDarklighter) September 14, 2022
Shhhh…. Then they couldn't virtue signal 😂
— Ryan (@KuzcoInsomniac) September 14, 2022
They would have to come up with an original story. We all know they can't do that anymore.
— Truthbomb (@Truthbo00022452) September 14, 2022
Some also pointed out that this would prevent Disney from “virtue signaling” their audience, further mocking the studio concluding that it doesn’t truly care about diversity and representation, but only about more money.
The Little Mermaid is expected to release on May 26 of 2023