In yesterday’s post, “Stop Making Me Defend Disney!,” Ethics Alarms looked at the controversy over Disney’s live-action version of its 1989 classic animated film “The Little Mermaid” that casts a black performer, Halle Bailey (not Halle Berry) as the Hans Christian Anderson heroine. Well, this one is moving fast.
One of the many fans who object to imposing “diversity, equity and inclusion” on “The Little Mermaid” announced via Twitter that technology was now available that could digitally transform Bailey into a white, red-haired mermaid just as Disney had transformed its original Ariel into a black one:
Naturally,woke social media is going nuts. So is the reliably knee-jerk progressive propaganda site “Above the Law,” whose head honcho, Joe Patrice, immediately pronounced the exercise “racist.” His commentary is headlined, “Racists Are Trying To Erase Halle Bailey From The Live Action Little Mermaid.” Really? Clearly, “racist” has no meaning any more, just whatever a progressive wants it to mean to shut down debate. How can it be racist for someone to prefer that a live-action Ariel look like the animated version, but not racist to prefer that Ariel be portrayed as black, which is what Disney apparently decided, or, for that matter, for State Farm’s marketing department to change “Jake from State Farm” from a white guy to a black guy? Or for HBO to change TV’s Paul Drake, Perry Mason’s tall, blond investigator in the classic CBS series, into a black guy for its reboot?
Of course the exercise of digitally restoring the Little Mermaid to her ginger identity is not racist. It’s stupid. It’s unfair to the movie and its artists, including Bailey. It’s illegal, if the digitally altered version is distributed. It is also kind of scary, if we are entering a new technological age where jokesters and fanatics can turn Humphrey Bogart into Jennifer Lawrence in “Casablanca” and John Wayne into Idris Elba in “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.”
But the claim that those wanting to see the live version of a beloved animated film feature a leading actress who looks like the character in the original are motivated by racism is another example of ideological bullying, requiring a measured response of “Bite me.”
Oh..I almost forgot. Twitter took down that tweet above. It’s WrongThink. You know…fascists.