Disney Slammed for Racist Casting Amid Controversies

in Tokyo Disneyland

Tokyo DisneySea Believe! Sea of Dreams

Credit: Tokyo Disney

Disney has been dealing with complaints about their live-action remakes for a few years now, including their decision to continue to make them despite their wild unpopularity.

Although this year’s The Little Mermaid remake was surprisingly well-received by most viewers, it struggled against controversies and attacks for months due to the decision to cast Black actress Halle Bailey as Ariel. It was slammed for being “woke,” and jokes were made about casting a white actress to portray an eventual live-action Tiana and a Black actress for Rapunzel, among others.

Tiana from Princess and the Frog looking irritated in her Mardi Gras gown
Credit: Disney

Ironically, that’s an issue that’s already been happening with Disney, specifically throughout the Disney parks. We covered a few instances earlier this year of light-skinned actresses being cast to portray Tiana, Pocahontas, and Moana at Disneyland and at Tokyo Disneyland. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have changed over the last few months.

@lazyariel took to X/Twitter to share several photos of POC princesses at Tokyo Disneyland with the caption “Tokyo Disneyland has a problem.” In the post, Pocahontas, Jasmine, and Esmerelda are all pictured portrayed by incredibly light-skinned actresses.

They defend their criticism in the comments, explaining that, unlike the color blind casting of Bailey in the live-action and reimagined Little Mermaid, the characters in the parks are meant to look exactly like the animated versions of themselves, and should be cast as such.

Ariel (Halle Bailey) resting on jellyfish and talking to Sebastian
Credit: Disney

“They hire Americans and Australians, the lady playing Pocahontas ALSO plays Cinderella. She’s not Asian, It’s them being cheap & not wanting to hire women or color,” they claim, “Not even the decency to tan them.”

However, some of the comments, like this one from @LuciesDignity, point out that “It’s Tokyo dude, it’s not exactly an racially diverse place.”

Typically, the overseas Disney parks often (not always!) hire American or English actors and actresses to work as an international employee to portray many of their face characters. Unfortunately, Tokyo Disney at least, seems to prefer casting lighter actors to play characters of color, despite continued outrage and criticism online.

With the exception of Disneyland Paris, the international parks are not owned or operated by The Walt Disney Company, so there’s only so much they can do in terms of hiring employees and performers. If you visit the parks, make sure to fill out the satisfaction survey if you receive one to let the parks know directly how they can improve the guest experience, including hiring and casting more diverse actors.

Do you think Tokyo Disney has a problem with its casting? Let us know in the comments below!

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