Disney defends its decision to cast Halle Bailey in The Little Mermaid remake. Her being cast as Ariel continues to be a source of criticism.
Disney’s recently announced that Bailey was the new Little Mermaid. People came up with hashtags like #NOTMYAriel #MakeArielWhiteAgain to protest against the black actress playing the popular role.
Bailey currently stars in the show Grownish. She is also the other half of the contemporary R&B duo Chloe x Halle. Despite her acclaimed acting, people protested her casting. Several people said a black woman was being forced into a white role. Others said that it was more appropriate for Disney to curate a new black character altogether.
The studio itself has not yet responded to the severe critique. However, Freeform, a Disney-owned TV network, issued a a paragraph on Sunday defending the decision. In an Instagram post by freeform post titled, “An open letter to the Poor, Unfortunate Souls,” It wrote that while Hans Christian Andersen, the original author of the fairy tale, was Danish, “Ariel … is a mermaid.”
The post continued: “So after all this is said and done, and you still cannot get past the idea that choosing the incredible, sensational, highly-talented, gorgeous. Halle Bailey is anything other than the INSPIRED casting that it is because she ‘doesn’t look like the cartoon one’, oh boy, do I have some news for you … about you.”
Despite such criticism, a number of famous stars supported Disney’s casting decision. The OG little mermaid, Jodi Benson herself praised Disney.
The actress took Bailey’s side after people on social media came up with hashtags like #NotMyAriel just after the casting announcement. Benson appeared at the Florida Supercon convention on Saturday. She recieved questions regarding the controversy. However, she said that the story and the character’s enthusiasm is what matters most and not what the person playing the role looks like.
She said, “The most important thing for a film is to be able to tell a story. We need to be storytellers, no matter what we look like on the outside.”
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Leave it to the voice of Ariel herself, @jodi.benson to give an insightful, thoughtful response when asked her thoughts about an African-American actress being cast to play Ariel in the upcoming live-action version of “The Little Mermaid” at her @floridasupercon panel yesterday (Scroll through to see full response in 2 videos). She really put things in perspective! 👏👏👏 (PLEASE ONLY REPOST WITH CREDIT!) . . #jodibenson #littlemermaid #thelittlemermaid #ariel #princessariel #hallebailey #chloexhalle #thelittlemermaidliveaction #waltdisneystudios #disneystudios @disneystudios #disneyliveaction #mermaid #disneyprincess #dreambigprincess #disneyprincesses #partofyourworld #voiceactor #voiceover #voiceactors #mermaids #underthesea #mermaidlove #lapetitesirene #lasirenita #disneymovie #floridasupercon #instadisney #disneygram #disneyig #disney
Disney announced last week that Halle Bailey will play Ariel in the upcoming film. The movie will begin production in early 2020.