The original star of The Little Mermaid has spoken out to defend actress Halle Bailey, praising her performance in an upcoming live-action remake of the movie – days after the official trailer for the flick received more than 1.5 million dislikes on YouTube amid racist backlash over Disney’s casting of a black woman as Ariel.
Jodi Benson, 60, the original voice of the Disney princess Ariel, has backed live-action actress Halle Bailey, 22, after she was met with a bitter wave of racist backlash.
Jodi shared a picture of Halle on her Instagram Story along with the caption: ‘Halle, you were absolutely amazing! ‘I’m SO proud of you & your beautiful performance as Ariel.
Jodi Benson, the original voice of Ariel, has backed live-action actress Halle Bailey after she was met with a bitter wave of racist backlash
Jodi, 60, backed Halle, 22, in an Instagram Story post and shared that she was ‘so proud’ of the actress
The Little Mermaid has garnered over 1.5 million dislikes on YouTube after star actress Halle Bailey faced racist backlash over her casting from trolls on Twitter
‘It was so wonderful to celebrate with your family here at #d23expo and to the brilliant director, Rob Marshall… I’m so thankful for our friendship of over 35 years. Thank you for creating such a stunning film!!’
Halle reposted the image to her Instagram Story with the caption: ‘Thank you so much… this means the world to me coming from you! You made Ariel magical for us.’
The post came just days after the trailer for Disney’s live-action version of The Little Mermaid racked up more than 1.5 million dislikes on YouTube after Halle faced racist backlash from trolls on Twitter after being cast in the leading role.
And this isn’t the first time the star who voiced Ariel in the 1989 animated film has sent love to the actress.
When it was revealed Halle would be playing Ariel in the live-action film in 2019, in a statement to USA Today, Jodi said: ‘I think the most important thing is to tell the story.
‘We have, as a family, raised our children and for ourselves that we don’t see anything that’s different on the outside.
‘I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters. What you bring to the table in a character as far as their heart and their spirit is what really counts.’
She continued: ‘We need to be storytellers. And no matter what we look like on the outside, no matter our race, our nation, the color of our skin, our dialect, whether I’m tall or thin, whether I’m overweight or underweight, or my hair is whatever color, we really need to tell the story.’
The negative response to the movie’s official teaser trailer – the first real glimpse at the movie – has been so severe that YouTube has now disabled the dislike counter, but not before it reached more than 1.5 million.
For many, the trailer was an exciting first look at the live-action version of the iconic Disney princess story, with parents the world over sharing sweet videos of their young children watching in awe as the clip played.
But among the excitement and the praise surrounding the movie, there has also been a bitter wave of racist backlash over Disney’s decision to cast a black woman in the lead role.
The Little Mermaid is the live-action adaptation of the popular Disney princess film starring Grown-ish actress Halle, from Los Angeles, California, in the iconic role of Ariel.
This isn’t the first time the star who voiced Ariel sent her love to Halle, as she previously defended her when it was revealed who’d be playing Ariel
The Little Mermaid is the live-action adaptation of the popular animated Disney princess film starring Grown-ish actress Halle
The official teaser has surprisingly received 1.5 million dislikes on YouTube and even caused the video sharing platform to disable the dislike counter (dislike count from September 11)
And despite the hundreds of thousands of fans who have been awaiting the teaser for the film, the clip has been flooded with very mixed reviews.
Although YouTube has disabled the dislike counter, many social media geniuses have installed a popular extension that shows them just how many people didn’t like a video.
Many critics have been slamming Disney for their visuals and noting that it doesn’t appear as the princess is under water, while others have taken a swing at Halle and the director Rob Marshall for casting the star.
In the wake of Disney’s announcement that Halle would be playing the mermaid Ariel in the adaptation, there has been no shortage of backlash.
Many of the online attacks have been tinged with racism, with trolls taking aim at Disney and its new leading lady over the decision to cast a black woman as the fictional character, who has largely been portrayed as white in previous pop culture offerings, including Disney’s popular 1989 cartoon.
Trolls have taken to Twitter to spread racial attacks with the hashtag #NotmyAriel and have called Disney’s choice to cast a black woman in the film #woke.
One Twitter user said: ‘If Disney wants more diversity, they should have create another character… Before respecting all the other ethnicities and cultures， shouldn’t they at least be respectful to the origin ??? #notmyariel.’
While others said ‘race swapping is not okay’ and claimed the movie was ‘a waste of money.’
In response to the online criticism, Halle told PEOPLE that she has been focusing on the significance of her playing the character, rather than the hate.
Since Disney announced Halle would be playing the Disney princess in the adaptation, there has been no shortage of backlash
Much of the online attacks have been tinged with racism, as Halle Bailey is a black woman and Ariel, a fictional, animated character, appears to be white in the original 1989 film
Despite the backlash from trolls, Halle is focusing on the children whose parents have been sharing their happiness to seeing a Disney princess who looks like them online
She said: ‘The fact that now it’s getting to be played by me, a person who looks like me, woman of color, I’m just like, wow, I’m so grateful for what it will do for all the other little black and brown boys and girls who will see themselves in me.’
‘Because I know if I had seen myself when I was younger, I think my whole perspective would’ve changed.’
She added that she put her own stamp on the princess and said: ‘Well, I can only be myself when it comes to taking on something this grand and great.
‘Sometimes it can be overwhelming to take the character that everybody has loved and known for years and make it your own.
‘But I just listened to the little girl that’s in me, and I listen to her and make her happy and then I know if I put my all and my passion and everything into it that I’ll give it my best. And I feel like I did.’
She also opened up to Variety and revealed her grandparents offered her support amidst the trolling by reflecting on their own experiences of racism and discrimination.
‘It was an inspiring and beautiful thing to hear their words of encouragement, telling me, ”You don’t understand what this is doing for us, for our community, for all the little Black and brown girls who are going to see themselves in you”,’ she said.
The trailer opened with waves crashing in the sea as soft music played while the cameras followed the mermaid throughout the
The trailer then showed an old ship wreckage resting on the ocean floor, paying homage to a scene from the 1989 animation where Ariel explored an abandoned shipwreck.
Trolls have taken to Twitter to spread racial attacks with the hashtag #NotmyAriel and have called Disney’s choice to cast a black woman in the film #woke
Halle, or Ariel, appeared on screen sporting her long, flowy locks as her colorful mermaid tail reflected in the light.
Halle is heard beautifully singing the iconic song Part of Your World as she swiftly swam closer to the shoreline.
‘Out of the sea, wish I could be, part of that world,’ she sings.
The trailer concluded with a release date for next year in May 2023.
The upcoming live-action remake stars Halle Bailey as Ariel, along with other cast members such as Jonah Hauer-King as Principe Eric, and Melissa McCarthy as Ursula.
The plot will remain the same as the original, following Ariel’s deal with sea witch Ursula to have human legs in exchange for her voice.
Despite the backlash, the teaser previously went viral for a more wholesome reason as a number of parents began posting their children’s reaction to seeing a Disney princess who looked like them.
In one video shared on TikTok, a little girl with wide eyes and a huge grin can be seen watching the trailer, barley able to contain her excitement.
When Ariel is finally revealed, the young child kid asks in a heartwarming moment: ‘That is her? That is Ariel?’
Other children sat in front of TV and locked in on the Disney princess who looked just like them and cheerfully smiled.