By Trevin Lund and Lillian Gissen and Kelsi Karruli for Dailymail.Com
19:27 18 Mar 2023, updated 19:46 18 Mar 2023
Josh Gad condemned “pathetic” trolls who hated the upcoming live-action teaser trailer for The Little Mermaid.
Since Disney announced the casting of Halle Bailey in July 2019, the network has been met with fury online after taking numerous steps to become more inclusive in recent years.
The negative reaction to the film’s official trailer – the first real glimpse of the film – was so severe that YouTube shut down its dislikes counter after it reached more than 1.5 million in two days.
Gad, who previously starred in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Frozen, took to Twitter on Thursday to write, “Imagine being so broken and pathetic in life that your biggest concern is the skin color of… a made-up singing mermaid. ‘
Disney has taken numerous steps lately to become more all-encompassing — it included a gay kiss between two female characters in the movie Lightyear and the casting of Halley as a black Ariel in the upcoming live-action version of the beloved movie.
The 22-year-old actress commented on the backlash when she told Variety that her grandparents offered her words of encouragement and reminded her how important her role in the film would be.
It was inspiring and beautiful to hear their words of encouragement, telling me, “You don’t understand what this is doing for us, for our community, for all the little black and brown girls who will see themselves in the future.” you,” the Atlanta native told the outlet.
Bailey said seeing the iconic Ariel character as a person of color growing up would have positively affected her self-esteem.
“What that would have done for me, how that would have changed my confidence, my belief in myself, everything,” the adult star said. “Things that seem so small to everyone are so big to us.”
Many online attacks targeting Disney have been tinged with racism over the decision to cast a black woman as the fictional character, who has largely been portrayed as white in previous pop culture offerings, including Disney’s popular 1989 cartoon.
One Twitter user said, “If Disney wants more diversity, they should have created another character… Before they respect all other ethnicities and cultures, shouldn’t they at least respect origins??? #notmyariel.’
While others said “race swaps are not okay” and claimed the movie was “a waste of money.”
Disney has made huge efforts to become more inclusive – changing park policies to prevent staff from using gendered greetings, implementing anti-racism training for employees, giving progressive makeovers to old characters, and removing offensive imagery from attractions and movies – but some people feel the company has gone too far in its waking changes.
One such person is billionaire investor Nelson Peltz, who recently declared war on the company’s “excessive spending and mismanagement.”
And while many have praised the company for the change of direction, in recent months the question has lingered as to whether they’ve gone too far with the changes it’s made recently — from dressing Minnie Mouse in a pantsuit to issuing a racism warning for their old movies.
In January 2022, Disney debuted an “awakened” new look for Minnie Mouse, with the beloved character abandoning her signature red polka dot dress in favor of a “progressive” blue pantsuit designed by Stella McCartney.
The move was met with uproar online, however, and within minutes of the tweet being posted, dozens of users began expressing outrage at the iconic mouse’s style change, as her signature red and white dress had become a staple of the character.