The Little Mermaid Controversy

On Sept. 8, Disney released the new live-action “The Little Mermaid” movie trailer. Information regarding the new movie has been revealed, giving Disney fans a release date and unveiling the actress for the lead role. 

The new “The Little Mermaid” movie is set to release in May 2023, with Halle Bailey taking the role of Ariel. However, many people have found the casting of the new Ariel as inappropriate. Some believe that Ariel should be portrayed as her original race, white, while others believe that Halle Bailey, a black woman, is perfect for the role. 

Many people claim that Ariel being portrayed by a black woman is perfect for little girls who lack representation in the media. Those in favor of Bailey playing Ariel state that growing up, they were not exposed to many black lead characters. Many girls across the internet have had their reaction to the new “The Little Mermaid” trailer recorded. These reactions all result in the girls being thrilled that a Disney Princess “looks like them.” Everett Mathiason (12) sides with the casting choice for our new Ariel. He claims, “She’s just a fictional character, there is no ‘accurate’ race for Ariel.” Bailey provides little girls the representation past generations have not received.

Those who wish for Ariel to remain as white have defended their claims through racism. Many have posted very racist comments regarding Halle Bailey’s skin color throughout social media. The little girls who look up to the new Ariel must additionally be exposed to the hate from racist Disney fans, taking them away from their wholesome admiration for the new Ariel. Die-hard Disney fans have recognized the subtle change in Ariel’s hair color in the trailer, and to their benefit use it as an excuse for their racist remarks and prejudice against Bailey. Aidan Lee  (12) comments on the racism created in the media: “A lot of guys use Ariel’s new hair color change as a reason to defend their racism, when the hair color is probably the thing that matters to them the least.” 

The hate towards the idea of Ariel being played other than a white woman has increased to a dramatic extent; An AI generator has revised Bailey’s appearance in the trailer to make her race white. The owner of the AI has claimed to do the same for the rest of the movie, appeasing the racist fans. The lines of this backlash have been clearly crossed by erasing the ethnicity of a person of color.

Bailey has recently indirectly addressed the hate she’s received online, claiming that “sometimes i really wish we lived in a less negative world …” Many have attempted to remove Bailey from the role through harassment and complaints to Disney. Nonetheless, Bailey will keep her role as Ariel despite the hate she faces online.