An AI artist has faced the fury of the internet after editing Disney’s new The Little Mermaid teaser trailer by replacing actor Halle Bailey with a white woman.
The highly anticipated live action film trailer was released last weekend at Disney’s D23 Expo fan convention and has, for the most part, been met with awe and excitement.
But unfortunately, there’s also been some pretty heavy criticism over the casting of singer Halle Bailey as Princess Ariel.
The actor has recently spoken about the significance of a black actor taking on the classic role, telling PEOPLE: “The fact that now it’s getting to be played by me, a person who looks like me, woman of colour, 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.”
But, while the R’n’B powerhouse has already proven that she’s more than capable of taking on the coveted role, there’s been some absurd, and indisputably racist, backlash to the casting choice.
A lot of the criticism from angry Disney ‘fans’ argues that the fictional mermaid should have have been played by a white actor, since the 1989 animation (which was adapted and Disney-fied from the original, and inherently dark Hans Christian Anderson fairytale) featured a white Ariel.
The tense discourse heightened when one Twitter user used AI technology to turn Halle Bailey into a white-skinned woman with fire-red hair, much like her previous animated Disney counterpart.
Promoting the AI artist’s work, another user shared a side-by-side of the original The Little Mermaid trailer with Halle Bailey, and the altered version that “turned the woke actor into a ginger white girl.”
The tweet from a now-suspended Twitter account had read: “Credits to our memer Artificial Intelligence scientist @TenGazillioinIQ.
“He fixed The Little Mermaid, and turned the woke actor into a ginger white girl. He says he can fix the whole move comes out with 4x A6000 in 24 hours. It’s over for wokecels”
In a follow-up tweet, they had added: “Note for Twitter: This is for purely educational purposes, please do not misinterpret this in a racist way.
“I am just amazed by high-IQ friend who works with Artificial Intelligence and the stuff he can make, and wanted to show people his field of study.”
Needless to say that, when fans caught wind of the AI remake, there was a pile-on of criticism and disgust.
Some users couldn’t help but notice that, while the AI artist had painted over Halle Bailey’s face to give Princess Ariel a white complexion, they had kept Halle’s singing voice.
UNILAD has reached out to @TenGazilionIQ for a comment on the AI-modified trailer.
The highly anticipated Disney flick also stars Melissa McCarthy, Jonah Houer-King, Jacob Tremblay, Awkwafina, Javier Bardem, Daveed Diggs and Simone Ashley.
The Little Mermaid is set to release in cinemas on 26 May 2023.
1. This is way too much
2. So awful… These racists
3. All kinds of racists are popping up… This is disgusting…
4. Wow but that black woman is indeed quite amazingㅋㅋㅋㅋ
5. What a creep. The person is definitely racist but the AI version feels so uncanny that she doesn’t even look human, she just looks repulsive
6. Why would you go this far? If you don’t like it, just don’t watch it
7. Seriously I hate this so much, why are people making such a big fuss over white people? You just don’t have to care about that trailer
8. The actress is pitiful… She doesnt’ deserve this treatment…
9. No but if you don’t like it, just don’t watch it. Why are people pushing this so much… Ugh this is just severe
10. This is a bit;;;;; Me too I don’t really like Ariel’s cast but this is straight up racist