‘The Little Mermaid’ Is Being Accused Of Erasing Slavery History

in Disney, Entertainment

Javier Bardem as King Triton in The Little Mermaid (2023)

Credit: Disney

The Little Mermaid has now been released for the world to see, and though the movie is meant to follow the whimsical and fantastical story of a mermaid wanting to experience life on the land, people have been taking some huge jabs at the movie. The “woke” vs. “anti-woke” conversation has come up practically every week, but now the live-action remake is being accused of the “dangerous erasure of slavery.”

Halle Bailey as human Ariel petting a dog in The Little Mermaid
Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Related: Paloma Faith Hates ‘The Little Mermaid’ “WTF is This S—?”

It is foolish to think that atrocities worldwide were not happening during some of the most famous Disney movies being released. For instance, Snow White was released in 1937, near the start of the Second World War. The same can be said for Pinocchio (1940), Dumbo (1941), and Bambi (1942), all released during WWII.

However, considering these movies were released during some of the most tumultuous times in history, does that mean they needed to cover that subject matter? We would argue that some films were made for the specific reason of entertaining and reminding everyone that magic and goodness can exist regardless of what is happening in the world. Fairytale stories are generally there to be just that: fairytales.

The Little Mermaid is now being accused of ignoring the atrocity of slavery, specifically during chattel slavery that occurred during the 18th century when Africans were forced onto ships in the Caribbean.

Diversity Advocate Slams’ The Little Mermaid’

Halle Bailey as Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid' 2023
Credit: Walt Disney Studios

A diversity advocate by the name of Marcus Ryder, who is a prominent British campaigner and sits on a chair for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, took to Twitter to post a blog celebrating Halle Bailey but also used his blog to fire back at the movie’s intent to “erase slavery.”

Ryder said, “I do not think we do our children any favours by pretending that slavery didn’t exist.” This quote was taken directly from his blog entitled, “Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Caribbean Slavery, and Telling the Truth to Children.”

“Setting the fantastical story in this time and place is literally the equivalent of setting a love story between Jew and Gentile in 1940 Germany and ignoring the Jewish holocaust,” he added.

Ryder indicated that The Little Mermaid does not have to be incredibly faithful to history, but ignoring history is the most important thing. His plot suggestion would have been that the film took place in Haiti right after the overthrow of slavery in that region. The movie could have then been about racial harmony between Ariel and Prince Eric. While that is not a bad suggestion, this movie is meant to showcase a pure fantastical idea and story.

“We owe it to our children to give them the most amazing fantastical stories possible to help their imaginations grow. We do not do this by ‘whitewashing’ out the difficult parts of our history. We do it by embracing our rich history and empowering them with the truth,” Ryder stated.

Again, the idea that The Little Mermaid is erasing slavery or the history of it is quite a stretch. Even more so, people on Twitter began to attack Ryder for his view of the movie, which resulted in him taking down his thoughts. He claimed that his series of tweets were “highly misunderstood.” Everyone that fired back at his proposal of erasing slavery also indicated that the movie is meant just to be a fantasy fairytale and nothing more.

Melissa McCarthy as Ursula
Credit: Disney

Related: Live-Action ‘The Little Mermaid’ Review: Welcome to That World, Halle Bailey

Wherever you stand on the issue, The Little Mermaid is currently out. It has been the subject of plenty of controversies, though the live-action remake is presently at $209 million worldwide. See it before jumping headfirst into an argument about the film’s intent.

Do you think The Little Mermaid is erasing slavery? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

in Disney, Entertainment

View Comments (2)