Freeform Claps Back at "Poor, Unfortunate Souls" Criticizing The Little Mermaid Casting

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Disney had cast Halle Bailey as Ariel in the studio's upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. As expected in this day in age, a certain contingent online instantly lashed out about the casting. Since then, the Disney-owned cable channel Freeform — a network geared toward programming for young adults — offered a passionate statement in defense of the casting.

First shared as a comment on their initial congratulatory picture for Bailey, an actor who appears on Freeform's Grown-ish, the network then screenshot the comment and repackage it as its own post earlier today. The full statement — or dismantling of trolls, for lack of a better word — can be found below.

"Yes. The original author of ‘The Little Mermaid’ was Danish. 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. Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black. 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 thus mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair. But spoiler alert - bring it back to the top - the character of Ariel is a work of fiction. So after all this is said and done, and you still cannot get past the idea that choosing the incredible, sensational, highly-talented, gorgeous Halle Bailey is anything other than the INSPIRED casting that it is because she “doesn’t look like the cartoon one”, oh boy, do I have some news for you...about you."

Though exact details — such as a release date — still remain scarce, the film is set to be helmed by the Academy Award-nominated Rob Marshall (Chicago) from a script by Jane Goldman (Kingsman franchise) and David Magee (Finding Neverland). While things are still quiet, Marshall previously told that fans could expect a fine mixture of classic and all-new songs when the movie is released.


“There are things I’ve learned about how you have to work to integrate songs into story, and how it has to feel earned. It can’t just be sort of put there, placed there, because you feel there should be a song,” Marshall told us. “It has to be a song that’s earned, that takes you there. And so as we’re working on, in a way, fleshing out The Little Mermaid — Ariel has one song in the animated film — and so we’re looking for maybe more material.”

“Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda are coming on board to write some lyrics, so that’s exciting, to sort of take what was there, which is so beloved, but also find a way to create a live-action version of it,” Marshall said, adding “the lessons of creating an original musical have been very helpful so far.”