Disney defends decision to cast Halle Bailey in upcoming “The Little Mermaid” film

in Disney, Entertainment, Movies, Movies & TV

The Little Mermaid Halle Bailey

Credit: Disney / @oceanblaine

Disney announced last week that Halle Bailey, known for her role in “Grown-ish” and one-half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle, will star as Ariel in the upcoming version of “The Little Mermaid.” While many fans and celebrities were happy to see Bailey take the lead as Ariel (especially considering what it means for representation in Hollywood), others weren’t at all pleased with Disney’s decision. After fans on all sides have shared their opinions of Bailey as the new Ariel, Disney has finally spoken out and defended the casting decision.

The statement is titled, “An open letter to the Poor, Unfortunate Souls,” a play on lyrics of a popular tune from the original film, and it draws upon logic, history, and even humor to make a case for Bailey’s casting. Disney also originally published the statement on the social channels for Freeform, the young adult television network with the slogan “a little forward.” The statement reads as followed:

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 Halle Bailey is anything other than the INSPIRED casting that it is because she “doesn’t look like the cartoon one”, oh boy, do I have some news for you…about you. 

The Little Mermaid Halle Bailey
Credit: Getty

Fans have mixed feelings about Disney’s decision to cast Bailey as Ariel in the upcoming live-action reimagining of “The Little Mermaid.” And even though we’d never think the team behind the new film would recast the starring role, we were also pretty surprised to see Disney issue such a blunt response. Still, Freeform is known for using Instagram and Twitter to share progressive, conversational, and humorous takes on current events and its television shows and movies, so it would seem as though Disney thought the Freeform social media accounts would be the best channel to share this type of statement.

Take a look at a screenshot of Disney’s full statement below:

Disney defends Ariel casting decision

Even though this statement was issued days after the original casting announcement, Disney has stood by the decision from the start. Director Rob Marshall stated that Halle “possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role.” Still, though Disney announced the casting decision across virtually all of its social channels, the Disney-run account for “The Little Mermaid” called @disneylittlemermaid decided to delete the Instagram post, which some believe was due to the outpour of negative comments on the post.

What do you think of Disney’s defense of the decision to cast Halle Bailey as Ariel? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Disney

120 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Morgana

    First of all disney is not even looking why casting this girl doesnt make sense. They can say that a danish mermaid can be black to defend their descion and ignore all the die hardcore 1989 little mermaid fans and their right to be angry over changing an icons image but it still doesn’t account for all the pissed of greek and wiccan people who take offense to one of their gods who is greek and now have to watch him be portrayed as black. Im talking about Triton son of Posiden. Which by theory makes Ariel greek. This is so rascist making greek gods black to appease black people. What about the people whose actual race this god is? You ignore them and change their god to appease black people because they feel some type of way? Make more princesses then, dont change the image of gods that are actually represented in real religions. Theres a big lawsuit here and disney is definatly going to get hit hard.

    1. Avatar

      Ken

      um…how is this a lawsuit?

      Here is why your statement no sense..IT’S THEIR IP.

      They own it. Not fans. Not the racists losing their lid over it…theirs.

      They can make ariel a flipping space alien with 3 heads and they are allowed to do so.

      As disney said..can’t get over it, then it is you.

      1. Avatar

        Nellie

        No sorry I’m Danish and believe me I wouldn’t see her wearing no wooden shoes.

        1. Avatar

          Ken

          All Danish people wear clogs?

    2. Avatar

      Ariel

      This much be the reason why people get so butthurt by the reimagining of Jesus as white…. Oh wait, they get but hurt when people point out that he wasn’t white. Strange thing that is, strange thing

      1. Avatar

        David

        So does this mean Mulan will be a white girl and Tiana from the Princess and the Frog will be a White girl from the Bayou. I mean if when are going to be PC with all cultures and races. Disney…it does go both ways.

        1. Avatar

          Joe

          No, your comment is moronic. Mulan is a story about a Chinese girl, so obviously she will be Asian. Ariel is a freakin mermaid from the ocean and can be cast as anyone. You’re just racist, it’s great casting and “PC” has nothing to do with it.

      2. Avatar

        HadesGiveMeStrength

        I’m Italian and a hellenismos witch. Poseidon (Neptune) can totally be a Black deity. He’s a deity. He can do and look however he chooses. And as for Triton’s mother, Amphritite (Salacia) could totally be Black too. Cause guess what? Black people existed in Greece and the rest of the Mediterranean area, which includes Morocco and Egypt and other AFRICAN countries where Black people also live.

        He’s a merman. He could be part Orca, part human!

        Do NOT use my religion as a front for your racism.

    3. Avatar

      D

      They haven’t even cast Triton yet and you’re already panicking. And “Gods” are not Greek, they are Gods. Deities do not have nationalities. The stories are of ancient Greek origin, Greek legends, not actual Greeks. This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read. Poor unfortunate souls indeed

      1. Avatar

        exo

        how convenient 🙂

    4. Avatar

      Nikki

      It’s fictional… I don’t get why people aren’t getting it. Furthermore if you wanna talk about years of not being changed since 1989, take a look at slavery lady. Everything and everyone needs change.

      1. Avatar

        Hawe

        so casting a remake of Black Panther with an asian or white guy is fine too?
        come on hypocrite, do your best 🙂

        1. Avatar

          Aidee Mag

          I agree with you. Lets see what they do with Pocahontas.

          1. Avatar

            Mandi

            What about Jesus? Christians recast him as white and none of you complain? I think Disney can cast whoever they want, and its no one business. Poor unfortunate white people, always getting their feelings hurt!

          2. Avatar

            Maria Amelia Park

            Pocahontas was REAL. You can’t be this slow!

    5. Avatar

      Tammie

      I can’t even wrap my head around how dumb this argument is.

      1. Avatar

        Lisa

        I don’t understand why people have to see anything other than a human being. We are all the same. Human! Who cares what color or where someone is from. And second, it’s a freakin cartoon!

    6. Avatar

      Jay

      Could you be any dumber?! Wow, lol. No lawsuit for Disney will ever come into play behind all of these white butt hurt racist idiots, who have a hard time understanding basic reality vs fiction & fantasy. You fail to see beyond your racism and that is the real issue. If your racism wasn’t the issue then guess what?, there wouldn’t be an issue. FACTS! You can continue crying and Disney will not care, grab you a tissue, or stop production of the movie.

    7. Avatar

      Dawn

      I just think that some of us are disappointed with the casting decision. So far Disney’s live action remakes have been true to the original Disney cartoons. I had been anxiously awaiting Disney doing a live action Little Mermaid remake as Ariel is my favorite princess. I’m just wondering why this is the live action movie that Disney decided not to make true to the cartoon.

    8. Avatar

      ebbony

      YOU SOUND STUPID AF SHUT UP AND GET OVER IT!

    9. Avatar

      Dani

      Where was this outrage when Tarzan was depicted as a white man

  2. Avatar

    Jones

    So I am a “poor, unfortunate soul” because I dare to have a different opinion than Disney? F… you, Disney, and if you think that insulting fans is a smart idea, then boy o boy, do i have some news for you…. I will never again spent my money on a Disney product, period.

    1. Avatar

      Ken

      More for us.

      Oh no…a cartoon is being portrayed by a black person. What ever will you do!

      1. Avatar

        Che

        I really can’t believe that people are so up in arms over this…it’s a cartoon. I’m very certain that each of you have more pressing matters to be concerned about. This whole thing is funny

      2. Avatar

        C

        In my honest opinion it’s not about race at all for me. I don’t care who the character is or what race they are. To me if a movie strays to far from the original characters design. It ruins it for me but only if done to soon. I want it to be as if the cartoon characters have really come to life. When the Flintstones were made into a movie. The actors and actresses looked just like the characters. For me that was amazing, especially as someone who grew up watching reruns of the Flintstones. I also loved watching the original Little Orphan Annie. I think the remake with Jamie King was good and that it was approached correctly also. I think Ariel should first look like the 1989 Ariel. The Little Mermaid could be made with an all black cast later on. I just feel that it needs to be approached correctly. Also for anyone wondering I’m black. I’m not racist at all I just like the first movie to be accurate. Then the second to be diverse. I also like when movies have an interesting twist to them. Like the short series Oz that was The Wizard of Oz with a twist to it. I really enjoyed watching it too. My point is…first follow close to the original, then make it diverse and then make it with a twist. I would absolutely adore that!

        1. Avatar

          Michael

          Later? Like wait for a more convenient season?

        2. Avatar

          Naomi

          I couldn’t agree more with you. Its not about race, its about sticking to the original film.

    2. Avatar

      Toni

      You butt hurt 😂😂

    3. Avatar

      Nina

      I always find it sooo funny when people say this, especially since I’ve worked in retail before and I get this alllllll the time. On behalf of every associate that has had to endure this and pretend to be sooo sad you will never grace their doors again, I will gladly let you know” don’t nobody care!” Your little 10 -20 something dollars doesn’t make Disney rich. And as a huge Little Mermaid fan, (I mean I still have the VHS)and I know every word and every song by heart, I will gladly watch the beautiful Halle represent this iconic character in all of her wonderful black girl glory ✊🏽

      1. Avatar

        Jones

        I have spent tens of thousands of dollars (not 10 – 20 sth) on Disney stuff in my life, but that is not the point. Whenever you heard such a remark from a customer, you *should* have felt sorry, instead of pretending you are sorry. And I know perfectly well that behind all the Disney speak (“guests”, “magic” and so on), they see their customers as nothing more than people with pockets that must be emptied. That is perfectly fine with me.
        What made me made as hell in this case is not the fact that they made a casting decision that i do not particularly like. In the end, it is their movie, their money, and if I do not like the movie, for whatever reason, then i do not have to go see it, it is as simple as that. It is the fact that Disney felt a need to *insult* their customers, and if you read the Disney statement again, you will see that it is *incredibly* insulting. But maybe i deserved it, after all, I do own a VHS copy of “Song of the South”, and also the “White Album” by the Beatles – my God, am I a racist?

  3. Avatar

    Nicole

    As a true Disney fan I am really upset that Disney is not looking at the bigger picture here and sticking to the character at fact. To go and change the characters looks breaks many hearts when that’s is someone favorite princess from childhood on up. It does not matter the origin of where the movie was made or any of that. Walt made a princess of every race for a reason. There is absolutely no reason to go and change Ariels race. Please explain to all the little ginger girls why their favorite princess was replaced with Halle Bailey. I am not questioning halles talent, but I’m sure someone else could fill the role.

    1. Avatar

      Sammi

      “Of every race” okay
      Snow White: White
      Cinderella: White
      Aurora: White
      Belle: White
      (Original) Ariel: White
      Jasmine: “Middle Eastern” (not given an actual, real, stated race)
      Pocahontas: Native American
      Mulan: Chinese
      Tiana: African American
      Merida: White
      Rapunzel: White
      Anna: White
      Elsa: White

      Do you see the pattern here? This is not every race. This is not proper representation. If you can’t get over their casting choice, then either don’t see the movie or go work for Disney. Simple.

      1. Avatar

        Then make a new character, they also could have used the black mermaid from their TV show.

        1. Avatar

          Serenity

          Um that is of every race(almost) . Merida is Scottish. I think Aurora is German and Cinderella is French I think , I’d have to look it up again point is yes they were white but all still from different countries . If they all were from America I feel like thatd be more racist mabey.

      2. Avatar

        EG

        Its not Disney’s fault that many cultures are white, but Merida is Irish, Anna and Elsa are Norwegian, and dont forget there is also Moana. The modern cultural princesses are stronger characters then the white, male chasing princesses. So why not created a new more powerful princess to represent, instead of replacing one that already exists.

        1. Avatar

          Thomas

          Merida is Scottish, not Irish, easy mistake

        2. Avatar

          Maria Amelia Park

          Um Merida was Scottish. Research please!

          1. Avatar

            D. G. Speirs

            It’s the brogue. Everyone has issues with that.

      3. Avatar

        Jackie Strange

        I honestly hope this isn’t a “remake” I hope Disney will let the new mermaid have her ” Happily ever after ” that little African American girls can relate to. They did a very heartwarming job with Tiana in ” Princess and the Frog ” . Most remakes tik people off. I think it’s mostly due to the fact that you will never make every single group of people happy. Stop trying to. I really want to see a New little mermaid. Not the same story made with an African American. Please.Please show that African American Mermaid can be a beautiful Mermaid with her own ” Happily Ever After ” .

      4. Avatar

        Katie

        What is white? Please explain to me.

      5. Avatar

        Old Salt

        Yeah, I see a pattern. Making a black little mermaid makes as much sense as a black Pocahontas or a black Mulan or a black Jasmine. It doesn’t fit the story line. Can’t Disney be creative and create a new princess or a new story line that would fit the culture.

      6. Avatar

        Snow White: German (white)
        Cinderella: French (white)
        Aurora: English (white)
        Belle: French (white)
        Ariel: Greek (white)
        Jasmine: Arabic (brown)
        Pocahontas: Native American (red)
        Mulan: Chinese (brown)
        Tiana: African American (black)
        Merida: Scottish (white)
        Rapunzel: Italian (white)
        Anna and Elsa: Norwegian (white)
        Moana: Polynesian (brown)

        look, I’m not anti black ariel but sit your ass down. The rage that some people are experiencing is not due to race, it’s due to religion, culture, and nationality. if Disney would just write more movies instead of changing the ones that are already written, there wouldn’t be such a wide selection of the audience disappointed.
        people would be just as mad if they took Mulan and made her black. yes, technically Mulan could be black because there are black people who live in China, but she’s not, she’s brown. therefore she should be portrayed by a brown/yellow, Chinese woman. I mean I bet you’d feel some type of way if they decided to make Nemo green.

    2. Avatar

      Aigner

      There are little black girl who grew up watching Disney. I am one of them. And not once did I see a princess who looked like me until the 2000s and even THEN she was a green frog the whole movie. So let’s stop. Disney has given white people over 20 princesses….(the first 3 of which, were released when black people still were forced to eat in desperate parts of the restaurant if they were even served at all). So cut the crap. You are racist. You are racist. You are racist. Period.

      1. Avatar

        Justine

        I’m honestly tired of hearing that people’s sentiments about this are all RACIST. Being disappointing about a casting decision does not make a person racist. Every other live action film has remained true to the depiction of the cartoons that they are based upon. And when it hasn’t, people have expressed their disagreement with story changes and casting decisions. Yet, it didn’t cause this level of argument because it wasn’t directly related to “black vs. white”.
        If I’m using your logic, what about all the red-headed little girls that related to the original Ariel? Which princess should they “look up to” now? You generalize all these “white” princesses, but that in ITSELF is a racist argument. “WHITE” can mean people from very difference regions. To lump all the “white people” into one category seems naive, especially when you are trying to argue against racism.

      2. Avatar

        Sharia

        YOU sound stupid. “You are racist, you are racist, you are racist “. You sound ignorant AF. When are you brain dead people ever going to realize that it’s not about being racist. It’s about why change one of the most beloved princesses Disney has ever brought to the screen? People all around the world are pissed. It’s not about being racist. It’s about an accurate representation of the princess that Disney animated. And you all sounds so stupid bringing up Jesus. This isn’t about Jesus. Its not about white people not accepting diversity, it’s about ARIEL IS WHITE WITH RED HAIR AND BLUE EYES. If you look at the original cover of the H.C.A book, she’s white with long red hair holding a dark haired white man in the sea. There’s no reason the change her appearance. It doesn’t matter her species. She still has white skin. H.C.A would be turning in his grave if he knew what Disney has done to his character. I’ve seen so many people from all over the world saying the movie is ruined for them. And while “one persons $10 to $20” won’t hurt Disney, it will hurt when that one person turns into thousands or millions. That is a lot of money to be out on and a lot of people pissed at Disney. All the black people saying “oh we comin….we running the world next”. Lmao. Ok then. If that’s what you think, If you really think THIS is a win, I feel bad for you. A real win when it comes to Disney shouldn’t be changing a WHITE princess black. A real win would be more permanent representation. They should just suck it up and recast her. Give the role of Tiana to Halle, WRITE NEW STORIES FOR MORE PRINCESSES OF COLOR FOR SOBBING OUT LOUD! So YOU cut YOUR crap, stop crying about how many princesses of color there USED to be and celebrate the fact that they’ve made more of them, and they’ll make even more if they’d ever get their heads out of their behinds. I don’t disagree with the fact that there needs to be more black princesses, more princesses of other ethnicities besides white, but I do disagree with turning Ariel black.

      3. Avatar

        Jada

        If tiana was made white. Disney would he racist. Anything with white people is racist to you. Get over it and realize there’s more to just white and black. You aren’t the inly races ! Damn! So ignorant!

    3. Avatar

      D

      Ummm Walt didn’t make squat. Walt made Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and then died. Disney made those movies long long long after Walt was gone. In fact he never even heard of the Little Mermaid which was made 30yrs after his death. And “Gods” are not Greek, they are Gods. Deities do not have nationalities. The stories are of ancient Greek origin, Greek legends, not actual Greeks. This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read. Poor unfortunate souls indeed.

    4. Avatar

      Brian

      I agree. It’s not about race they way everyone says. She was marketed 1 way for over 3 decades. And finally get a live action movie of her and they change the character.

    5. Avatar

      May

      Okay you’re so right representation matters but you know there’s till Anna and Merida they may not have been the same nationality but they were both Caucasian with red hair and if that’s the case what are you going to to the little black girls whose only princess they ever had was a frog for more than half the movie nothing right I didn’t think so suck it up and enjoy the movie p.s. its fictional not to mention that Walt stated every ten years or more Disney remakes it’s movies so every generation has the chance to enjoy them but at the end of the day every body has to look at the bigger picture change is gonna come

  4. Avatar

    Dave

    I am against this decision, not because I’m racist, but because Ariel is white. It’s like having a movie about Barack Obama and casting a white man to play him. That would be wrong. I would be against a white Tiana (even though people from New Orleans can be white) or a white Mulan. It’s keeping true to the story.

    1. Avatar

      Angel

      Ariel is a FICTIONAL CARTOON. She can be any color. She can be blue or purple or green. She’s a figment of the imagination.

      1. Avatar

        M

        What can you say about Gabriella? Ariel’s deaf friend in the series who communicated thru ASL. oh and she was Latina btw. if they can make an original latina character before, surely they can make another original black mermaid instead of replacing the appearance of an already established character. Hollywood is giving people hand me downs, branding them as “diversity” when it is actually an insult bc they are too lazy to create a new one and just relies on the popularity of an established character. And as for your fictional character argument, i guess it’s okay to cast t’challa as a white guy bc even though Wakanda is a country from Africa, surely it is STILL FICTIONAL. Besides, like what Disney said…let’s say even if t’challa is from africa, not all who live in the continent are black people. Right?

    2. Avatar

      D

      Ummm Walt didn’t make squat. Walt made Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and then died. Disney made those movies long long long after Walt was gone. In fact he never even heard of the Little Mermaid which was made 30yrs after his death. And “Gods” are not Greek, they are Gods. Deities do not have nationalities. The stories are of ancient Greek origin, Greek legends, not actual Greeks. This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read. Poor unfortunate souls indeed.

      1. Avatar

        EG

        Actually he did start it but it got put aside and finished years later.

        1. Avatar

          Bleh

          Let’s make tiana white ! And let’s leave ariel be black.Then we all win!! Right?! Stupid. Oh wait let’s make the lion king out of cheetahs instead

    3. Avatar

      Jay

      0Omg! You white butt hurt people are so dumb! Wow, lol. The little mermaid is NOT a real thing ok! Barack Obama is real! Anyone can play a fictional character, anyone! Color does not matter. Your racism is laughable. Get over it. Don’t go see the movie. Disney will lose no sleep and no money, promise.✌

    4. Avatar

      Chris

      Tiana was based on a REAL person. Mulan was based on a REAL person. Barack Obama is a REAL person. Sorry that all the stories that Disney gives to non white people have their race become part of the story. I’m so done with people acting like this ADAPTATION is wrong and using ridiculous reasoning to hide their racism

  5. Avatar

    Concerned Parent

    Changing Ariel now is going to be so confusing for kids. There’s also a sequel with Ariel’s daughter. It would be just as wrong to change Tiana or Mulan. I teach my child that race isn’t important and color doesn’t matter but someone can’t be Caucasian with red hair and then suddenly become African American overnight. I really don’t want to try to explain that and honestly we shouldn’t have to. Can’t Ariel have a cousin who becomes a new princess? At least that is realistic

    1. Avatar

      Nikki

      The only people that are confused in life are life are adults.

    2. Avatar

      Chris

      Are you really using your kids to justify your racism. Here let me help you. First you go to the dictionary and look up the word ADAPTATION and understand what it means then explain it to your children. Did you know they made a Black Cinderella years ago? And guess what? People weren’t confused. Also Mulan and Tiana were based on REAL people. Your “concerned parent” excuse has to be the WORST excuse I’ve seen yet. Congratulations.

    3. Avatar

      Nina

      Kids are much smarter than you give them credit for. Be a parent and tell them that Ariel can be any color. There are now plenty of little black girls who will say, look mommy, Ariel is black in this one. She looks like me in this one. It’s not that complicated, it’s just adults make it way more controversial then it needs to be.

    4. Avatar

      Ose

      The honest truth is that the child is only confused if you tell them to be confused. Many little kids are living in this world knowing much more than you give them credit for. To say that you are upset with Disney because YOUR CHILDREN may be confused is just ridiculous. Did your child explicitly tell you that they are confused and that it bothers them? If not, then let it go.
      For those poking fun and saying that Tiana should be cast as a white are just being silly. Ariel is not actually a person, when we want to talk about the technicalities of what is a definition of a person. So, because she is not technically a person, this means she technically doesn’t have a race. And because she doesn’t have a race, the only reason why there is any problem with this is because we are understanding it from the context of race. Ariel could be casted like an avatar character; she could be green with scales for all that it matters – she would still be a mermaid. Also, Ariel isn’t even the representation of what an actual mermaid is theoretically supposed to look like – mermaids are actually pretty frightening creatures; its sirens that are beautiful and seductive. And people are really acting like Brandy wasn’t casted as Cinderella and Prince Charming was an Asian man with a black mother and a white father. At the end of the day, Disney is still going to make their money. If they feel a black woman can effectively play Ariel, then its really none of business. If Disney feels that a white man can play the King of Wakanda, then its really none of my business.

  6. Avatar

    Mark

    I think that response was lame. This has nothing to do with “ THere are Danish black people “- This has to do with the original source material that People spent decades investing in – from movies , to tv, to coloring books, to live meet and greets . THAT’S why people are upset . If you all wanted a black danish mermaid named Ariel, then you should have drawn her that way to begin with, but you didn’t. From your snarky response will you be swapping out Tiana for a white or Asian Person? I mean they all live in New Orleans. If character integrity doesn’t matter, then change it across the board. Let’s see how well that goes,

    1. Avatar

      Nina

      So because she was drawn one way years and years! Ago she has to stay that way?! It’s called change. Learn how to adapt

  7. Avatar

    Patty

    I don’t have a problem with a black mermaid princess at all. What is wrong is a complete change in the way Ariel looks that every one knows. Why change her color? Make a new mermaid princess with her own story and her own kingdom from a different part of the under water world. Shoot they could meet and become great friends and create a great alliance between their kingdoms. Isn’t that a better lesson to teach our children? That every race could get along and love each other unconditionally. Not, we don’t like how you look so we are going to change you. Shame on the people who came up with this idea and causing this kind of controversy and divide. Not only are you confusing our children you are bringing this kind of ugly hatefulness into what should be a loving magical world of imagination. A new princess would offer a whole new world of love for our children. Destroying a princess they have grown to love is devastating and confusing to them. Race wars should have no place in our children’s minds. By doing this I think you are missing the mark on a great way to teach our children to love all colors of the skin.

    1. Avatar

      Ken

      I am not racist.
      It isn’t about race.

      You are destroying their childhood by making her black!!

      Race war!

      Gtfo. No child is mad at this. Hell, they love this actress. It is the adult who are losing it.

      1. Avatar

        Patty

        For one I never said children do not love her. She would make a wonderful and beautiful princess mermaid. She would be a great role model to our children. But give her the respect of her own story line and her own identity. Our children would love a new princess of any color or nationality. But make it her own not take another identity. Second I am married to a wonderful man of another race than myself and have mixed race children. And yes I feel completely changing a person who we all know is confusing. It would be like me showing up to work as a man. I am sure the under sea world has many kingdoms. Let a new mermaid princess with her own story to tell. Our children deserve new magical adventures.

      2. Avatar

        D. G. Speirs

        A bit over the top, Ken.

        The thing is, in a disagreement like this, the important thing is to let everyone be heard – and then realize none of that matters. It’s Disney’s IP, they will do what they will.

        But posts of your type are designed to add gasoline to a fire. It displays the same lack of understanding that the Freeform post did. Try to be understanding about why someone is upset, rather than attempt to invalidate and shame them for even having those feelings in the first place.

        After all, you don’t like it when that is done to you.

    2. Avatar

      Ahthis

      One, I felt that Disney starting off with “poor unfortunate souls” was harsh and rude, but most of all, Not Disney. Second, I gladly welcome another princess of African American ethnicity. I am just slightly sad not seeing a princess that looks like me. Growing up I had huge body issues, but then I watched the little mermaid, a story about a girl who looks like me. I do feel bad that there is not a broader variety of ethnicities, although Disney is starting to branch out into more nationalities which is great, though there is still more to go. I think that both sides of this argument have valid points, but I think we need to take the idea of race out of this. If you are like me it’s not because she has a different skin color, it’s that I was hoping to see an exact remake of the original movie Disney released. I did love the little mermaid tv show and there was even a mermaid who was of African American descent and she was awesome. Also I freaking love Chloe x Halle. Followed their music careers since the beginning on Disney. I hope this makes sense. So to summarize I’m super happy about the casting, I’m just a little sad to not see an exact remake. Have y’all heard the Disney isn’t including mushu in the new Mulan movie, same feeling. Anywho I’ll still see the new one, can’t wait to see Halle kill this role! She is going to be great.

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        Wayne

        I mean if it doesn’t matter what race they originally were and we want to change everything let’s just make them a transgender. Why not? We’re already going from a light skin straight hair mermaid to a dark skin dreadlock mermaid. I vote recast as tranny because we also should please the LBGT crowd too right? GTFO my face with all this b.s what about the lack of Hispanic, Asian, French, Arabian, Russian etc prince and princess? If you think changing white princess to black you’re the racist

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          Ken

          Who says Ariel isn’t transgender?

          Several fishes are male and female.

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          KB

          In fairness, the LGBTQ community has just as much a right to be butt hurt over Melissa McCarthy’s casting as Ursula. That character should be played by a drag queen.

      2. Avatar

        FranL

        I honestly don’t get the body issues comment. If you’re saying that the Little mermaid helped you with body issues because she looked like you, then I’m guessing that 90% of the movies you watch feature heroines who look somewhat like you. The majority of girls around the world, grow up watching movies where the heroines look nothing like them, and yet they still manage to look beyond skin color and find a way to relate the heroine.

        I think Disney looked beyond skin color and picked an actress who embodied all the qualities you would expect for the role and they made a great choice.

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    jazz

    mad about a fictional character being portrayed by a black person well now people see how we feel when real life people of color are portrayed by other races…..white michael jackson,moses,noah,ghenghis khan,cleopatra,jesus, Antonio J. Mendez so save the boo hooing for another day

  9. Avatar

    Ken

    They can do anything they want with their IP.

    Deal.
    With.
    It.

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    Jackie Strange

    I honestly hope this isn’t a “remake” I hope Disney will let the new mermaid have her ” Happily ever after ” that little African American girls can relate to. They did a very heartwarming job with Tiana in ” Princess and the Frog ” .

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    Joyce

    I find it hard to believe that Disney is now bashing others. For them to officially say they have “news for you… about you…” sad that Disney, who is supposed to support children dreaming big, would use phrasing that would make anyone feel ok with putting others down??? Not so much. Disney is better than that.

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    Jay

    Could you be any dumber?! Wow, lol. No lawsuit for Disney will ever come into play behind all of these white butt hurt racist idiots, who have a hard time understanding basic reality vs fiction & fantasy. You fail to see beyond your racism and that is the real issue. If your racism wasn’t the issue then guess what?, there wouldn’t be an issue. FACTS! You can continue crying and Disney will not care, grab you a tissue, or stop production of the movie.

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    Sterling Archer

    Sounds like whom ever wrote this for Disney has never been to Denmark. I’ve been to Denmark, and I can say from first hand experience that even in the 21st century, not a whole lot of black people there.

    Just putting that out there.

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      Ken

      You know that “not a whole lot” is not the same as “none”.

      Just putting that out there.

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      mandi

      When you were in Denmark what color were the mermaids? Because that is all that matters! Ariel is a FICTIONAL CHARACTER!!! She can be whatever color they want her to be!

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    Sheila Cordero

    Disney had officially ruined my Childhood!

  15. Avatar

    Sheila Cordero

    Disney had officially ruined my Childhood! Worst decision ever!

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      Dan

      I can’t wait to go see this with my little 4 year old daughter. I hope she loves it as much as I loved the original…which still exists… if you want to you can go watch it… also you can watch this new version and enjoy it to… everybody take a breath. It’s all ok.

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    Greg

    Disney is about imagination and making dreams for children. They continue to succeed in this with a new image of a mermaid princess.
    Kudos!

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    Michael

    Thing is the Greek Gods and so on were invented thousands of years ago. Shakespeare plays frequently see diverse casts, despite being set in the years in which Shakespeare wrote them (or earlier), where diversity among noble persons would have been less common. You like seeing racially segregated entertainment, exclusively, all you have to do is to watch the entertainment of the past. Even when they needed a person of colour, they would cast a white person and colour their skin.

    Most folks don’t want that, though. So let’s let you have your classic movies and your 3000-year-old Greek God stories, and let the rest of the world live in the current year.

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    Jade

    Ok first off I am 110% excited for a black mermaid 🧜‍♀️ they need more ethnic princesses and Disney characters my only issue is that I thought this was going to be a remake of the cartoon version of the little mermaid basically how I always saw her growing up. Of course I think it’s possible for a black mermaid to be created that’s not what I am saying or what many other people are trying to get across so stop getting it twisted and Disney for Christ sakes stop trying to cash in on everything and start becoming more creative god damn.

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    FranL

    A person’s race really shouldn’t matter when picking a character for a fictional show. I I’ve seen this actress on Grown-ish and I’ve seen her performing with her sister and I think she’s absolutely perfect for the role. I can see why Disney picked her. People need to be more open-minded.

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      Gio

      Rip to Ariel you all grew up with.. Oh did you catch the large brawl at Disney fueled by 2 African American groups..welcome to the future

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      Angela

      As a redhead I am extremely upset. Why are redheads being removed from tv and movies, this makes the second one Disney has taken this year and DC comics is slowly removing all of them. Yeah so they dyed her hair, that doesn’t matter she’s not a redhead. Ok to make it more realistic for nonredheads to understand why so many of us are ticked off, imagine if women were being removed from tv and movies and they put men in drag. There would be riots, it is not racist to want redheads to play redheaded parts, it is however gingerism for them to be replaced. We are a minority only 2% are redheads and only 1% are redheads with blue eyes. It’s a gene mutation that makes us so pale and have red hair and it originated in Asia.

  20. Avatar

    Lisa

    Disney really said that? Telling fans who have spent the last 30 years knowing and loving the white, blue eyed, redhead Ariel and simply can’t recognize the drastic new change as same character, that they are racist, saying bluntly and rudely to them that if they cant get used to it then ” boy oh boy do I have some news for …you about you” Do tell Disney what news for me about me do you have? If you want to call the Little Mermaid movie fans racist why not just come right out and say it?

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      FranL

      If you spent 30 years of your life “knowing and loving a fictional character”, then you are clearly a grown woman. This means three things: 1. That you are probably not Disney’s main target audience anymore. 2. Disney’s target age group will not care whether or not the current Ariel looks like the Ariel from a 30-year old cartoon and 3. That as a grown adult, you should be mature enough to adapt to a change in external appearance, and mature enough to understand that there is a so much more to a person than hair color or eye color. Disney understands that.

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      Ken

      You are racist.

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        Disney Sucks

        To put it bluntly I think that for anyone to say anyone is being racist just because they loved the original character and still does love the original character even as an adult makes you too times a racist. I am tired of people calling others racists. Disney intentionally is insulting others to try to use race as a sales ploy. They are making money off of suckers as far as I am concerned. Go ahead and keep buying into their stuff as they destroy more and more small businesses and even buy land to build parking lots killing animal habitats. They don’t care about anyone but the all mighty dollar but people continue to flock to their parks and buy their overpriced merchandise and see their movies which they are always placing political content into so they can make kids stay suckers into adulthood so they continue to buy the stuff for their kids. It is sicking to think that they own so much and in Florida you basically have to work for them or you don’t have a job. Kids are our future and it is very difficult to have to discuss topics with your kids. Changing the original character is a smack in the face to parents and even kids basically saying you better agree with this new Ariel or you are a racist and not worth our (disney’s) time. Again Disney doesn’t care because they don’t think they have to because their target is suckers STOP buying into it boycott because either way you are buying into hate/corporation that isn’t afraid to buy out your home. Your just a number.

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        James

        Changing the character is racist. They could have found a real redhead with a great voice. The only thing that differentiates Halle is that she is black. Any and all decisions made primarily for the sake of race is RACISM.

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    Brian Schlosser

    There is no way on earth or under sea that is a real statement from The House of Mouse. I notice the screenshot is cropped to remove the account it’s from. Dodgy, very dodgy.

    Also, people getting upset about a black mermaid are deluded and absolutely racist.

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      Jim

      No. They’re upset about it because people got upset about ScarJo in Ghost in the Shell. It’s the hypocrisy dude, not the actress.
      Race-swapping in movie adaptations has been happening for almost the entire history of cinema and nobody cared about it in either direction until “whitewashing” became a big social justice issue literally within the last 10 years.
      If you don’t understand this you’re either stupid or a liar.

  22. Avatar

    CD

    One could say Ariel being white is her family is royalty and the time frame it takes place in means they most likey colonized the Caribbean Sea and brought servants with them just like when Europeans colonized the Caribbean islands and brought slaves from Africa to populate the islands. Just saying it makes more since from that stand point.

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    Ashley Whitelocke

    Disney really represents the last phase of Capitalism. First, we started with the Germanic fables. Brother’s Grimm, Aesop Fables, and added whatever nationality was part of the American’s great melting pot. Have you read these books? They are stories/Satanists for children to make sure they do not do behave badly.
    Test Phase: Cartoons: Snow White, Cinderella, King Arthur, 1990’s mixed kids ish Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontis….
    My biology teacher once told the class one day all races will be as one. Was this what the curly, blond, middle-ages lady was referring to? I hope not.
    Ariel is a red-head by Disney’s choice. I don’t recall the original Ariel being a red-head and I do not care.
    She is supposed to be a role model for red-heads, that is the point.
    Disney has lost its mind and is taking everyone along for the ride. !ENJOY!

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      Nina

      I feel like no actually knows the really definition of racism and why this is like the least racist thing. Please educate yourself

    2. Avatar

      Nina

      Who the heck said that?! Redheads have a ton of role models and no one is going around spewing any hate on red heads.

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      KoKo

      It is not about racism. That shows how narrow minded people can be by saying that. It is about changing an icon for little girls all over the world. Not only that, but changing how she is described in the original book. She is described as being, and I quote: Her skin is as “clear and delicate as a rose leaf and her eyes being blue.” Seems she matches that description more closely in the 1989 version.

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    RunningDoe

    Here’s a bit of truth for everyone who is so upset about the casting. Mermaids are supposedly mamalian – fishy hybrids. Take a look at ALL mamalian sea creatures. Are they a size 0, or do they have a thick layer of subcutaneous fat to not only fuel them between meals, but also to insulate their internal organs from the freezing temperatures of the ocean. Additionally, if a mermaid were truly to have the coloring of a Scottish or Irish lass, she’d be sunburned in no time. Just ask my pale skinned friends.
    Ariel should always have been depicted as having brown / golden skin and chunky. It’s the only thing that makes *actual* sense.

  25. Avatar

    Kortney

    I do not agree with the casting choice. Let me reiterate that I am not racist. In the original story, Ariel is described as having skin that is “as clear and delicate as a rose leaf and having blue eyes.” The original movie goes along with the description and stays true to the story. However, this new girl does not. It is not about race, but about staying true to who Ariel is in the minds and eyes of millions of children and those young at heart. By doing this, Disney is disappointing many supporters.

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    KB

    Hmm…so you want to use the origins of the myths to defend your racism? M’kay. I’ll play. So Triton (son of the originally Myceneanan god Poseidon) is referenced by Homer as being from around where modern day Libya is. The name Ariel comes from Hebrew. Yes, Hans Christian Andersen was Danish, but the first illustration of the story shows a prince in decidedly Middle Eastern style clothing. So I’d say that a dark haired darker complexioned actor is probably WAY more in line with the original story than the Ariel from the animated version.

    Lawsuit? You are so silly!!

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    Jbutterflie

    She is super talented, no denying that. I honestly don’t care who they pick but I am a redhead and this movie was so empowering as a child. Whomever they choose needs to have RED Hair or it isn’t Ariel. Ariel’s trademark was her RED Hair, let’s be honest it had nothing to do with the fact that she swam around with shells and a tail fin.

  28. Avatar

    Calvin Shumaker

    I don’t see this as inspired at all. I see it as trolling. Because that’s what Disney does now. They knew that this casting would create this stir, and it’s exactly what they wanted. Disney has become incapable of creating the kind of fun escapist entertainment that made them famous.

    As for straying from the original content, that ship sailed with the original. Ariel didn’t want to become human because she longed to be “up where they walk.” She wanted to become human because she had a desire to spend an eternity with God. She neededa human soul to do so as merfolk merely turned to foam on the sea after living exactly 300 years. The arrangement she has with the sea witch is that she gives up her voice in exchange for human form but she has top marry to keep it. Otherwise she instantly turns to foam on the sea. All goes according to plan until her prince falls in love with someone else. When Ariel realizes her desire to be human would interfere with her prince’s happiness, she sacrifices herself and casts herself into the sea fully expecting to turn to foam. However her selflessness is noticed and she’s given a second chance to earn a soul by being transformed into a wild spirit.

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    Max

    This is for Disney. “We do not want a black Little Mermaid, we want a white Little Mermaid! What are you thinking? Halle Bailey is confusing us that Halle Berry (The Flintstones, X-Men) will be in the movie. Use the almost black girl, Zendaya!”

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    Jada

    So then it is okay for them to cast a non-black actress as tiana for the princess and the frog?

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    Millie

    You guys are rediculous. It has nothing to do with being racist and everything to do with copying and upkeepING the original character who is the biggest major icon KNOWN and recognized for her RED HAIR. It’s so stupid for Disney to try so hard to be “racially inclusive” that they have to go so far to ruin the illusion of what the actual princess looks like. Turn it around
    If they casted a white girl as Tiana, the black community andany others would LOSE THEIR MINDS and say Disney is typical and being racist. It’s a double standard and it’s so stupid. I refuse to watch it because of Disney not staying true to the character and I’m not giving themy money because of it, and I promise there are thousands like me who won’t voice their opinion becuase they are afraid of confrontation.

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    Nunya

    This is just absolutely ridiculous nobody cares if you make another mermaid movie but this is not a remake of the original! Regardless Ariel is a white girl with red hair and blue eyes why the hell would they want to take that away from the viewers! Make whatever you movie you want wit halie berry but no not the remake of the littler mermaid! The actors in aladin were the exact same everything middle Eastern so why are we being unfair to whites people about a REAL remake of the little mermaid. What is wrong with you Disney nobody’s racist for noticing racism torwards anyone!!

  33. Avatar

    Penelope

    What a condescending post. People aren’t mad because of race. They are mad because Disney has portrayed and profited off of a white, red-haired, blue-eyed Ariel for 30 years! We have bought movies, shows, clothing, books, games, toys, etc. all showing this character for 30 years! We have shared this character with our children who have also fallen in love with her. We were so excited that our favorite character of 30 years was getting her own live-action movie and we were going to see the character come to life on the screen. It was exciting. And, based on every other live-action movie, we could reasonably expect the character to look like the one we invested in for 30 years! And then she was changed…after 30 years! It’s insulting to the fans who invested in this character for that long to suddenly be treated like this just because we are hurt and disappointed that the character we have loved and invested in for 30 YEARS isn’t going to be the one we get to finally see live. No one is denying the fact that Halle Bailey is beautiful and talented. NO ONE! This isn’t about race. It’s about the 30 years of branding down the drain.

    Every little girl who grew up with Disney had a princess they loved the most. They shouldn’t be chastised for being disappointed when their princess is changed from her original (as in the Disney original) form. And for those talking about her being a fictional character based on a mythical creature, it doesn’t change the fact that Disney originally made her a certain way and pushed that brand for 30 years leading people to expect and look forward to a live-action version of that same character. Even on Disney’s own social media channels, they still post about Ariel in her original form. Honestly, as a company, it just doesn’t make sense after all that branding, to suddenly change the character. Are you trying to disappoint your fans? Are you trying to start a controversy so more people talk about the film and, therefore, more people might see it? I’m just so confused by the thought process behind this decision. And your condescending post (which offered no explanation except to insinuate that those disappointed are “racist”) to your fans? It’s so un-Disney like. The whole things is just so odd.

  34. Avatar

    James

    It is racism to change the character and it isn’t racist to call that out. You are taking an established character and forcibly changing an obvious character point. Can a mermaid look like anyone? Of course. But don’t pretend that Ariel is not one of the established Disney Characters. Don’t pretend every portrayal of her has been the same since the movie. And don’t pretend this isn’t essentially killing the previous character. Now all the character actors need to change, and all the artwork needs to change. This decision screams of racism. They did not choose her for her voice. They chose her for her skin. They wanted this-this free publicity- because they no longer care about their products. They should have made Eric black. He is just important enough that it makes a statement without destroying a franchise. But Disney is run by idiots.

  35. Avatar

    Emily

    Absolutely ridiculous. If they wanted more black characters they need to create them not change existing ones. I hate this decision and it will only hurt Disney’s reputation .nope #notmyariel #notmymermaid

  36. Avatar

    D. G. Speirs

    Casting a different sort of actress – white, black, red, purple, green, etc. – in the role is, at best, an artistic choice, and at worse, pandering. But as someone else pointed out, it’s their IP – they can do what they want.

    What I take issue with is the tone of that post. Disney did not have to defend the decision. It’s made. Think of how many other casting decisions have been criticized by fans, only to turn out to be wildly successful (a good example – Daniel Craig as James Bond). But instead of being confident in their choice and staying above the fray, this statement is so defensive and so insulting that it speaks to insecurities on the part of someone inside the organization. The failure to remember not to talk down to the audience is stunning.

    Me? I was kind of looking forward to it. Ms. Berry has pulled off being “black-ish” and “young-ish.” I figured Dan-ish was totally in her acting range. But if Disney is going to continue to insult the intelligence of its fans in statements like this, I’m going to take a pass.

  37. Avatar

    Serenity

    I’m only against the casting of ariel for the same reason I was disappointed in the last live action disney movies, they got changed and didn’t make it better, if they made ariel white with blonde hair I’d still be mad cuz she has red hair, and I’m not talking about the original story I’m talking about the Disney version. Always thought it’d be cool to see all the Disney movies live action of course make it to the best of their abilities cuase they are cartoons, but it’s like they changed the stories. I wasn’t happy with basically the whole casting of beauty and the beast I was happy to see Kevin kline cuz hes 1 of my favorite actors he didn’t do a bad job in the movie but still nothing like belle’s dad and wished someone else play him. The little mermaids is one of my favorites and I don’t want to say I’m not happy because Ariel’s being played by an African American, im not racist I’m completely white, I have a black relative, my 1st love was an african American women if ariel was originally black and they decided to cast her as a white girl or any other ethnicity I’d still feel the same way. What if they made princess tiana white? Everyone would find that racist..

    1. Avatar

      Serenity

      I just wanted to point out my view and feelings on it, but they already casted them and it is really messed up that people are protesting cause she’s black, I’m not happy with the new prince Eric but people shouldn’t hate on him either

  38. Avatar

    Serenity

    Though it is really messed that people are protesting against her cause she’s african American ☹ I feel bad for her unless she doesn’t care which would be good. Im just posting my point or view on it as a fan also as an artist(amature😋).
    Also it’s not like I’m happy with prince Erick, he looks like alittle blonde boy Erick has like black hair and not boy looking lol. Not trying to dis just pointing out

  39. Avatar

    radara21

    It’s not racist to say that if they are “remaking” the iconic 1989 cartoon of the little mermaid, that I want to see a similar reproduction of the cartoon. Just because people have different opinions doesn’t mean they are racist. If they remake the princess and the frog I would want to see a dark skinned person play tianna. I can’t with everyone in this world always pulling the race card.

  40. Avatar

    Tyler

    This is disgusting trying to appease to blacks to piss off whites purposely. It seems the Jews of Hollywood are hard at work to destroy white america. But don’t worry we’re the majority and my God are we a lot smarter stronger and capable.

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