Rachel Zegler, Disney’s New Snow White, Defends Halle Bailey From Racist ‘The Little Mermaid’ Criticism

in Disney, Movies

Left: Rachel Zegler on set as Snow White. Right: Halle Bailey singing as Ariel underwater.

Two Disney Princesses are standing strong together in the face of racist criticism of the live-action The Little Mermaid, coming to theaters on May 26, 2023.

Related: Live-Action ‘The Lion King’ Prequel Coming In 2024

A Twitter user tagged Rachel Zegler, who plays Snow White in the upcoming live-action Snow Whitein a post asking Disney to reconsider casting Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid remake. Liam Webster wrote:

Hey @disney, I actually think that @rachelzegler is a good choice for the role of Snow White because she looks just like her. But @HalleBailey is #NotMyAriel. She can be the Little Mermaid on Broadway if she wishes, but not in a movie.

Though the Tweet was complimenting Zegler, she immediately defended Bailey in response:

if you don’t support my girl halle, who is the perfect ariel, you don’t support any of us.

Both actresses are women of color portraying white animated characters. Bailey specifically has been the target of much racist backlash for playing Ariel. However, she’s also received an outpouring of love from young Black girls who appreciate seeing themselves represented on the big screen.

Little Mermaid Cast
Credit: Disney

The Little Mermaid features a star-studded cast, directed by Rob Marshall, with original music by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alan Menken. Bailey is Ariel, Melissa McCarthy is Ursula the Sea Witch, Jonah Hauer-King is Prince Eric, Javier Bardem is King Triton, Daveed Diggs is Sebastian, Jacob Tremblay is Flounder, and Awkwafina is Scuttle the seagull.

Zegler’s film, Snow White, is still in production and is slated for release on March 22, 2024. Gal Gadot will star as the Evil Queen, and Andrew Burnap will play Jonathan, an all-new take on the Prince. Marc Webb is directing the film.

More on The Little Mermaid (1989)

Vanessa with Prince Eric
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Shares Touching Tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

Travel under the sea with Ariel (Jodi Benson) in a remake of this Disney Renaissance classic. From Disney:

With unforgettable characters, thrilling adventures, soaring Academy Award®-winning music (1989: Best Music, Original Score, and Best Music, Original Song, “Under The Sea”), The Little Mermaid is one of the most celebrated animated films of all time. Now spectacularly transformed for the first time on Blu-ray with digitally restored picture and brilliant high-definition sound! Venture under the sea where Ariel, a free-spirited mermaid princess, longs to be part of the human world. After bravely striking a bargain with Ursula, a sneaky sea witch, Ariel embarks on the adventure of a lifetime. With Flounder and Sebastian at her side, Ariel will need all of her courage and determination to make things right in both her worlds.

Are you excited about The Little Mermaid remake? 

View Comments (7)