Production on Disney's The Little Mermaid finally found its Ariel last week in Grown-ish star Halle Bailey and if you've been on any form of social media since, you'll have noticed quite a stir about the casting. Despite plenty of naysayers on Twitter, one new poll from The Hollywood Reporter suggests most people support the race-bent casting of Ariel. Out of 2,200 people surveyed, just about 58 percent supported the casting, which was most popular with Generation Z (60 percent in support) and Democrats (75 percent in support). The least favorable groups were Baby Boomers (50 percent in support) and Republicans (44 percent in support).
Surprisingly enough, just 20 percent of the respondents had heard "a lot" of the casting controversy while 31 percent of those who respondents had heard "nothing at all" in regards to the controversy.
Since the initial casting and subsequent outrage, plenty of other Hollywood stars have come out in support of it including Spider-Man: Far From Home star Zendaya and original voice actor Jodi Benson. Freeform, the channel Grown-ish airs on, even took to social media to write a scathing clap-back at those criticizing the casting because of race.
"Yes. The original author of ‘The Little Mermaid’ was Danish. 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. 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."
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The Little Mermaid has yet to set a release date.