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We're still a week away from the release of The Lion King, a movie virtually guaranteed to be a massive box office hit, but Disney is already hard at work on the next big remake. The Little Mermaid recently revealed that the live-action Ariel will be played by young actress and singer Halle Bailey, and while it the choice was met with a not unexpected backlash due to the fact that Bailey is African-American, it looks like some degree of the critical response may have been manufactured by trolls.
It seems that one particular tweet that went viral claiming that the film deserved a "true-to-color" Ariel uses a profile pic stolen from a model on Instagram. A follow up tweet responding to those being critical of the original post included a picture of a "half black best friend" (as proof the person posting wasn't racist) and it looks like that picture was taken from Pintrest.
Even the photo of the Little Mermaid DVD box used in the initial tweet was discovered to come from a three-year-old unboxing video.
The account in question has since been suspended by Twitter, but it now looks like, rather than being genuine outrage, the post looks to have been made specifically to cause the backlash which, not surprisingly, followed in short order.
To be clear, there still appears to be genuine responses to Halle Bailey's casting news that are negative for no reason beyond the race of the actress, so not everything that has been going around social media is designed specifically to get people worked up, but it looks like at least some of it was.
On the plus side, while The Little Mermaid is clearly moving forward, the roles of Flounder and Scuttle have also been cast, and the word is Melissa McCarthy could be taking the role of Ursula. and it will be some time before we see the film, which will give everybody plenty of time to get used to the idea. The next available slot on Disney's release calendar for a live-action film is March of 2021.
It's the same slot that Mulan has next year, and that Beauty and the Beast had before that, so there's a solid chance that's when The Little Mermaid will hit. If not, there are no less than three other dates being held in 2021 for untitled Disney live-action movies, and more coming in the years after that.
Regardless of how much of the furor is from people who feel personally victimized that a mermaid won't look exactly like she did in a cartoon, and how much is from people just pretending to feel that way in order to get a rise out of people, Halle Bailey's casting has received a lot of support from fans of the animated classic, as well as the voice of the original Ariel Jodi Benson. There may be some unhappy with the decision but there are just as many if not a lot more that love it.