Disney has gotten a bad rap for its new live-action remakes of their classic films. In most cases, the complaints come from people who feel that the movies are being played off of nostalgia or that the movies are attempting to market to children.
With the live-action Little Mermaid, however, Disney has had to deal with a different kind of criticism. Instead of simply letting the backlash be, Disney has fought it tooth and nail.
This time around, a lot of the criticism seems to be coming from racial groups on YouTube. The teaser trailer that dropped last year generated over 3 million dislikes, and the new trailer has over 600,000.
These trolls are angry that Disney cast Halle Bailey as Ariel, a character who was originally drawn in the 1989 animated movie as a white woman with red hair. They allege that it is a racist act to change the color of a princess in a live-action version of the film.
Despite the negative reaction, many Black girls have expressed excitement about seeing a mermaid that looks like them. This has even spawned a trend on TikTok, where parents are sharing videos of their kids reacting to the trailer with joy.
Some influential people have taken to social media to voice their support for Bailey and the movie, as well. Original Ariel voice actress Jodi Benson praised Bailey’s performance and said that she is “absolutely amazing” in the role. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse producer Chris Miller also shared a post critiquing the racism that has been going on on YouTube.