Disney's live action adaptation of Aladdin was initially praised for its diverse casting, with the likes of Naomi Scott, Mena Massoud and Will Smith landing lead roles. This week however, the production has come under fire for racial issues on its set.
According to Deadline, various publications in the UK are criticizing the Guy Ritchie film for "browning up" white extras to make them look like native Middle Eastern people. One story in particular quoted an extra by the name of Kaushal Odedra, who claimed they saw as many as 20 "very fair skinned" actors in line "waiting to have their skin darkened."
After the initial report, Disney released a statement in regards to the situation, and the company didn't deny the allegations. However, Disney did say that there was more to the situation than people were saying.
"Great care was taken to put together one of the largest most diverse casts ever seen on screen," a Disney spokesperson said of the situation. "Diversity of our cast and background performers was a requirement and only in a handful of instances when it was a matter of specialty skills, safety and control (Special effects rigs, stunt performers and handling of animals) were crew made up to blend in."
Production is still underway on Aladdin, currently filming just outside of London. The film is expected to hit theaters on May 24, 2019.