Confusion over Dakota Fanning’s new movie leads to uproar on Twitter

No, she's not playing a 'white Ethiopian Muslim.'

Sep 5, 2019, 1:35 pm



Collyn Burke


Dakota Fanning faced backlash online after entertainment blog Deadline Hollywood tweeted out a clip of her new movie Sweetness in the Belly and mistakenly identified the actress’ role as “A White Ethiopian Muslim In Refugee Drama-Romance.”

The film, adapted from Camilla Gibbs’ 2005 novel of the same name, stars Fanning as Lilly Abdal, a young woman abandoned as a child by her English parents in Africa. When war breaks out in Ethiopia, Abdal flees to the U.K. as a refugee and begins work to help reunite other refugees with their families.

Twitter users were outraged over the headline and Fanning’s apparent role.

“Dakota Fanning is a what,” Twitter user @Phil_Lewis_ wrote.

Many criticized the decision to cast a white woman as an Ethiopian Muslim refugee.

“so many talented Muslim actors out there and you cast… Dakota Fanning???????????????????? and to play an ETHIOPIAN?????????????? I BEG YOUR PARDON???????????????” user @muhammedbutt wrote.

“This is so coincidental – just yesterday I was saying, you know who would best represent the contemporary refugee experience in Africa? Dakota Fanning,” user @Libyaliberty joked.

Fanning later posted on her Instagram Story to clarify her character’s role in the movie. “I do not play an Ethiopian woman,” Fanning wrote. “I play a British woman abandoned by her parents at seven years old in Africa and raised Muslim.”

dakota fanning sweetness in the belly dakotafanning/Instagram

In addition to Fanning’s Instagram story, a handful of Twitter users attempted to clarify her role in the film and accused Deadline Hollywood of a deliberately misleading tweet about Fanning’s role.

“Anyway Deadline Hollywood made a clickbait-y title that deliberately mislead people to the point where Dakota Fanning had to put out a statement,” @blackheartwings wrote.

The #DakotaFanning uproar is a prime example of people not educating themselves before getting outraged on woke Twitter and looking stupid as hell,” @foxymnj said.

Sweetness in the Belly is set to premiere this week at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.


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*First Published: Sep 5, 2019, 1:35 pm