To all Little Mermaid fans who were disheartened to learn that Disney casting a black woman in the role of Ariel had prompted a racist backlash, worry not: The #NotMyAriel controversy is mostly fake news.

Last week, Disney announced that Halle Bailey, a black actress, would portray the fictional mermaid princess in a live-action remake. Allegedly, this infuriated some racists because Ariel is red-haired and white-skinned in the cartoon version. “Us white girls, who grew up with The Little Mermaid, deserved a true-to-color Ariel,” wrote one critic, Rebeccs, in a tweet that went viral. “Disney, you made a huge mistake by hiring Halle Bailey.”

Horrified? Don’t be. A troll account was responsible for the tweet, as Buzzfeed‘s Brandon Wall helpfully explained:

Moreover, there were a lot more people responding to the tweet and disagreeing with it than liking it.

It’s true that a few Twitter users seemed genuinely upset about the casting. But the overwhelming majority of people tweeting #NotMyAriel are doing so in support of Bailey and expressing outrage that anyone would be offended by a black Ariel. Their fury is well-intended but largely unnecessary.

Moreover, there were a lot more people responding to the tweet and disagreeing with it than liking it.

It’s true that a few Twitter users seemed genuinely upset about the casting. But the overwhelming majority of people tweeting #NotMyAriel are doing so in support of Bailey and expressing outrage that anyone would be offended by a black Ariel. Their fury is well-intended but largely unnecessary.

Nevertheless, The Washington Post ran not one but two articles on Tuesday bemoaning the “uproar over a black Ariel.” (Articles appeared at other sites as well.) The only evidence of said uproar is a handful of tweets, which again, are more than canceled out by all the other tweets. But try telling that to history professor Brooke Newman, who implies in The Post that there’s an Ursula-sized backlash to the casting and that it all has something to do with Trump:

 

Read more at Reason Magazine. 

 

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