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A new version of The Little Mermaid is headed our way, and some people are not thrilled with the casting.
The announcement that Halle Bailey, half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle, would be portraying Ariel was met with mixed reactions. Many people greeted the news with euphoric joy, but, of course, the news was also greeted with its fair share of angry reactions. One angry comment, in particular, took a uniquely tone-deaf approach and was promptly dragged by half of Twitter.
The comment, posted by Twitter user @woo_ahhh, tore into the adaptation for daring to cast a Black woman in the titular role. “Us white girls, who grew up with The Little Mermaid, deserved a true-to-color Ariel,” she wrote. “Disney, you made a huge mistake by hiring Halle Bailey. This is going in the TRASH.”
Since then, though her tweets have been deleted and her account has been suspended.
Almost immediately, the tweet was soundly ratioed, with a collective 8,700 likes and retweets and a whopping 19,000 replies. Many users pointed out the holes in @woo_ahhh’s logic, while others just criticized her for such a resoundingly terrible take. “Ahh yea, because I, a black girl, couldn’t have possibly grown up with The Little Mermaid,” one commenter wrote.
Wow, this is quite possibly the most shit take of all time. That’s fine, though, I’ll go see it two or three times to help make up for all the upset bigots.— Paul Alice (@PaulBurns19thA) July 4, 2019
Fact box: the Little Mermaid lives on a TROPICAL CORAL REEF with a calypso-singing lobster with a strong Jamaican accent. When you think about it, it's bizarre she was white the first time around.— Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) July 4, 2019
While some users were busy tearing into @woo_ahhh’s aggressively flawed logic, others pointed out how silly a conversation about an “accurate” depiction of a mermaid is. “She’s a mermaid Becky,” one commenter wrote. “They don’t really exist, unlike your racism.”
You do realize that:— Ronald AJ Cocks (@RonaldCocks) July 4, 2019
1) Little Mermaid is a historic fictional character blond, blue eyed before Disney changed her to redhead for animation contrast
2) Fictional cartoon character being adapted to film - root for the best possible performance not skin color.
3) Facts matter
Ariel is a fantasy made up creature and you’re telling me the most unrealistic thing about the new Ariel is her skin color.......girl..........— claire (@clearstarkswift) July 3, 2019
Ariel has a fish tail, no gills, no webbed fingers, no protection for her eyes from salt water, talking fish and crab friends, & she learned the word “dinglehopper” from a seagull — all before an octopus lady gave her legs.— Reappropriate (@reappropriate) July 4, 2019
But yeah, the hard-to-believe part is if she’s Black.
In response to the wave of reactions her tweet got, @woo_ahhh defended herself in several follow-up tweets. After sharing screenshots of several direct messages supporting her statement, she tweeted several times that she is not—as her initial reaction would imply—racist.
Those tweets, however, are no longer visible.
She also complained that Bailey—who, you may recall, she called a “mistake” by Disney—blocked her on Twitter following her comments. “@Disney I have been such a long supporter of your company, I’ve grown up with you, and for the future actress of Ariel in YOUR upcoming movie The Little Mermaid to block me is so juvenile and SO unprofessional. Halle Bailey has zero class. Words fail me.”
While @woo_ahhh’s take was being roasted by most of Twitter, other users took the time to express their joy over the casting choice. People shared personal stories, fan art, and even videos of Bailey singing to show their support for the 19-year-old actress.
@woo_ahhh did not respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.