Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ Caused Hate Movement

in Disney, Entertainment, Movies & TV

Disney movie causes a hate movement, shown by Ariel (2024) and a sign saying hate

Credit: Disney / Inside the Magic

It’s not often that a Disney movie causes a hate movement, but this modern show of extremism drives home the risks of social media movements and the “woke” cultural shift.

The Little Mermaid (2023) came out earlier in the year with a series of mixed reviews. Some appreciated the changes while others found the lack of canonical aesthetic to be cause for concern. In some cases, that concern got extreme enough to inspire hate.

Movie Moments 'The Little Mermaid' (2023), Actress Halle Bailey
Credit: Inside the Magic

Modern Walt Disney in a Strange World

It’s become common practice to take an animated movie and turn it into a live-action film. This allowed the Walt Disney Company to handle the ever-classic Disney film and address some historically problematic issues. From the racist depiction of Native people and black people to issues surrounding toxic masculinity, gender identity, and the central character concept, there is a lot of hate behind the “woke” movement.

Many view this as starting from a stem of parental rights, spoken for by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and antagonizing Walt Disney World. Others see it as a pervasive concern that relates to racist caricatures and unfair portrayal of sexual orientation in film. In this situation, reports show that the changing of a white person (mermaid) to a black person caused an entire hate movement online.

British Singer Paloma Faith Screenshot of her video clip on YouTube on the right and 'The Little Mermaid' Movie Moment on the left
Credit: Inside the Magic

“Woke” Disney Movie Causes Hate Movement: Little Mermaid

The study showed that the comment section Disney posted was filled with “hate speech.” It goes on to suggest that the anger focused more on skin color and racism rather than gender identity. The transformation wasn’t an issue (nor the concept of a mermaid having human skin). What transpired was a hate movement that focused on the Disney feature, The Little Mermaid.

It goes on to suggest that during the “woke” movement, there was more acceptance of “positive gender responses” and more hate focused on race.

Despite Racism and Controversy, Massive Crowds Storm Through Disney Park Towards Splash Mountain for One Final Ride
Credit: Inside the Magic

Changes to Walt Disney Increase Racism, Reports Show

The study confirmed that the changing of a classic Disney film or a familiar attraction, like Splash Mountain, can spur racism and hate movements. It highlights the danger of social media as it relates to the “woke movement.” There are countless examples, ranging from New Orleans to the presence of Native American caricatures in Peter Pan.

Yet, in the case of the Little Mermaid, the tweak was as minor as a change of skin color. It took a traditionally white person from the animated movie and thereby embraced the talents of Halle Bailey in crafting a film for the modern age. Despite the “woke” approach, the racist issue continued. Some countries even shifted their skin tone to embrace a racist caricature.

It shows that the presence of racist hate movements continues to be a concern and that the “woke” campaign is undoubtedly a part of it. Whether it plays a positive or negative role in cultural change is in the eye of the beholder.

What are your thoughts on hate movements inspired by a Disney movie remake? Share your take below!

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