The Little Mermaid Controversy

The release of the new Little Mermaid live-action movie has sparked many controversies, the main one being the race of the actress playing the character of Ariel, Halle Bailey. Many fans of hers believe she is a proper fit for the position because of her roles and critically acclaimed performances in the popular TV series Grownish, and the 2012 Disney movie, Let it Shine. However, the reason why this is an issue for many Little Mermaid fans is that they assumed that the actress playing the role would be of a closer skin complexion to the animated film. When it was announced that an African American woman was chosen to play the role, it caused an uproar in some of the fans anticipating the movie, while other fans reacted in an opposing manner, and became even more excited about the movie.

Many parents went to the popular social media site, TikTok to share their excitement with others. It became a trend for African American parents to show their daughters reacting to the trailer of the upcoming film and showing how thrilled they were to see someone near the same skin complexion starring in the movie as Ariel. The trend lasted for about a week, with the most popular video receiving 3.1 million likes and over 17 million views. Not all were happy about the news however. A video posted by @jossmarchell was made, mocking the participants in the trend. The man in question, who is presumed to be of Asian descent, put a black face mask on and shouted the words, “Mommy, she looks like me!” while pointing at a television screen in the background playing the trailer of the movie. This video received a massive amount of hate from Disney fans, and many other people worldwide. This resulted in his video being taken down by TikTok, and his account getting permanently banned from the platform.

Another controversy surrounding the upcoming movie is due to the AI scientist who constructed the trailer. He was called out for supposedly digitally replacing Halle Bailey with a fake, white actress. This infuriated the African American community and caused them to post hateful messages toward him on Twitter. The scientist posted a follow-up, saying that the alteration was “purely educational” and asked the social media platform to not “misinterpret this in a racist way.”

All in all, the Little Mermaid live-action movie triggered an immense amount of emotions in many different groups of people before it was even released. Many people, myself included, cannot wait to see the turnout of the movie’s ratings due to the backlash it has received thus far.