Fans slam racist reaction to Halle Bailey’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ trailer

Fans slam racist reaction to Halle Bailey’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ trailer

By Nabanita Pain

HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA: Josh Gad, who voiced Olaf in the ‘Frozen’ series and played Gaston in the live-action ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ lambasted people who were critical of the impending live-action ‘The Little Mermaid’ movie and its first trailer. Halle Bailey plays the title character, Ariel, in the Disney-produced movie. The 22-year-old actor’s selection for the part sparked a wave of online satire, with the first teaser garnering more than 3 million “dislikes” on YouTube.

Since its release in September, the first trailer for the eagerly anticipated remake of the 1989 animated picture has had 3.5 million disapproving views. Rob Marshall, director of ‘The Little Mermaid,’ recently addressed the racist criticism that has followed the movie ever since Bailey’s casting was revealed in 2019, saying that there was “no agenda” in casting a Black actor, People reported.

Why is it being slammed as racist?

The forthcoming live-action adaptation of Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid‘ has generated controversy and discussion, especially in relation to the choice of Halle Bailey, a black actress, to play the historically white role of Ariel. Some have decried the casting as “political correctness gone mad” or even “reverse racism,” while others have applauded it as a move towards more diversity and representation in Hollywood.

The controversy over a black actress portraying the role of Ariel brings to light a more serious problem of institutional racism and the exclusion of persons of color in the media. White normativity, or the assumption that being white is the default and normal experience in Western society, is the root of the controversy surrounding the casting of Bailey.

Scholars claim that many Westerners have this idea profoundly ingrained in their cultural psyche, which affects how they view race and identity. When a traditionally white character is recast as a person of color, this convention is disrupted and the status quo is put to the test.

This legacy of exclusion and marginalization may be seen as continuing in the uproar against Bailey’s casting of Ariel. Given that Ariel has always been portrayed as a white mermaid with red hair in ‘The Little Mermaid,’ this is extremely relevant in that scenario. Others have argued that the choice to cast Bailey, a Black woman, in the role represents a deviation from the original source material.

Official poster of 'The Little Mermaid' 2023 (IMDB)

It is important to note that Ariel’s race or skin tone is not mentioned in the original Hans Christian Andersen story. So, the idea that Ariel is a white character is a result of long-established cultural norms and representations, as per Pop Tingz.

‘Imagine being so broken and pathetic in life’

‘Call to Activism’ took to Twitter to address a large amount of dislike for the new ‘Little Mermaid’ trailer on YouTube. According to ‘Call to Activism,’ MAGA racists are currently “disliking” the Little Mermaid movie trailer in large numbers on YouTube. More than 3 million people disliked the teaser trailer, and more than 600,000 did so for the new trailer.


Actor Josh Gad, 42, has condemned the racist slamming against the upcoming Disney movie. He took to Twitter and wrote, “Imagine being so broken and pathetic in life that your chief concern is the skin color of… a make-believe singing mermaid.” Reminding his followers that the character is “a make-believe singing mermaid,” Gad expressed his support for Bailey’s reprise of the famous Disney character.



‘Skin color of any fictional character is irrelevant’

There were tons of social media users who were supporting Bailey and Gad, expressing themselves against racism. One such user wrote, “It’s kind of funny how people are assuming remakes with non white people are to make non white people feel better when honestly white people have been centered in films because filmmakers know how sensitive they are about not being centered all of the time.” Another user mentioned the 70s movie ‘The Wiz’ and wrote, “I was just a kid, but I don’t remember any uproar over this.”

Singer and Human Rights Activist Stella Parton wrote, “It’s disgusting to watch these people behave in such abhorrent ways while hiding behind their screens.” Radio & podcast producer Joey Salvia wrote, “We had about 4 channels and no internet in the 70s. The Wiz is not a fair comparison. It was already a hit Broadway musical with a black cast. Racists can drown in their salty tears as far as I’m concerned. I’m taking my family to see it at the theater.”

“As I watched last year as those little girls of color viewed the trailer, how their eyes lit up and heard them say, “Mommy, she looks like me”, well, I KNEW this was a wonderful thing!” typed another Internet user. Another follower supported Gad and wrote, “You’re so right. Skin color of any fictional character is irrelevant. Diversity, like Josh Gad says, shouldn’t be anyone’s chief concern. Right on. Right on.”


‘The Little Mermaid’ is set to hit theaters on May 26, 2023.


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