Almost immediately after Disney announced Chloe X Halle singer Halle Bailey as Ariel in their live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, the internet erupted in reactions, with many showing their true racist intentions.
The bigots came out in droves, with some going even farther than the walls of Twitter by signing a petition titled #NotMyAriel, created by a blatantly racist fan of the original animated film.
Upon seeing this unwarranted criticism of Bailey and Disney, the brand's cable network — and the home of Bailey's show Grown-ish — Freeform, took to Twitter to clap back at the hate with "An open letter to the Poor, Unfortunate Souls."
"Yes. The original author of The Little Mermaid was Danish," the network wrote, in response to the claims that sought to support why a white actress should have been cast, instead. "Ariel...is a mermaid. She lives in an underwater kingdom in international waters and can legit swim wherever she wants (even though that often upsets King Triton, absolute zaddy). But for the sake of argument, let's say that Ariel, too, is Danish."
They went on to crush the unsupported argument in just a few words.
"Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black," the letter continued. "Ariel can sneak up to the surface at any time with her pals Scuttle and the *ahem* Jamaican crab Sebastian (sorry, Flounder!) and keep that bronze base tight. Black Danish people, and this mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair."
After refuting racist Twitter's claims in their well-constructed rebuttal, Freeform reminded everyone that the story of The Little Mermaid is simply a work of fiction, further proving why the Grown-ish star's casting isn't the least bit problematic.
Take a look at their full letter, below:
While the internet bigots may be up in arms, the supporters outweigh the haters. In addition to getting a massive thumbs up from her fans and network, Bailey has also received major praise from the director of the forthcoming The Little Mermaid film, Rob Marshall, who explained in a statement why it was a no-brainer casting her for the role.
"After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role," he said.
(Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
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