Disney Network Freeform TV have released a statement after Halle Bailey was cast as The Little Mermaid in the upcoming live action remake of the classic Disney film.
Halle’s casting has received some backlash online, with troll’s claiming that the role should be given to a white, red-haired actress due to the fairy-tale’s Danish roots.
The casting marks Disney’s first time selecting a woman of color to play a traditionally white princess in an adaption of one of their classic films.
In an Instagram post titled, “An open letter to the Poor, Unfortunate Souls,” Freeform said that while the original tale may be Danish, the fact that the character Ariel is a mermaid means she could be played by anyone.
The network went on to say: “Danish mermaids can be black because Danish people can be black.”
“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.”
The original voice actress who gave life to Ariel’s vocals in the 1990 classic also shared her support for the actress’ casting.
Jodi Benson told fans at a Florida convention: “I think the most important thing is to tell the story.”
“I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters. What you bring to the table in a character as far as their heart and their spirit is what really counts.”