Josh Gad doesn’t want to be part of a world that allows racism.
Gad took to Twitter to slam the “pathetic” trolls who disliked the new live-action “Little Mermaid” trailer starring Halle Bailey as Ariel. “Imagine being so broken and pathetic in life that your chief concern is the skin color of…a make-believe singing mermaid,” Gad captioned a retweet of Democratic organization Call to Activism’s post.
“The Little Mermaid” has been mass-disliked on YouTube, with the teaser receiving 3 million down votes and the new trailer currently at more than 600,000 dislikes. Disney debuted the trailer as part of the 95th Academy Awards March 12 in a segment that cost the studio $10 million. The segment was widely criticized, as many felt that the addition of a paid promotion cheapened the Oscars and needlessly extended a show that was already running long.
Rob Marshall directs “The Little Mermaid,” with Melissa McCarthy, Javier Bardem, Jonah Hauer-King, Daveed Diggs, Awkwafina, Jacob Tremblay, Noma Dumezweni, and Art Malik rounding out the ensemble cast.
Marshall previously admitted that he “wasn’t anticipating” the public social media response to seeing Bailey as Ariel. “I felt like we’ve moved so far past that kind of thing,” Marshall said of the color-blind casting process. “But then you realize, in a way we haven’t. It was very moving to me to see how important this kind of casting is for the world.”
Marshall added that there was “no agenda” to casting Bailey as Ariel, other than the fact that she had a stellar singing voice and a “great deal of fire and joy” as a performer.
“We just were looking for the best actor for the role, period. The end,” Marshall said. “We saw everybody and every ethnicity.”
Bailey already received racist backlash when the clip of her singing “Part of Your World” received 1.5 million “dislikes” on YouTube before the rating feature was disabled. When Bailey was cast as Ariel in 2019, a racist #NotMyAriel Twitter campaign ensued. Late night host and comedian Trevor Noah spoke out on the controversy in September 2022.
“Really, people — we’re doing this again?” Noah said. “Once again, a bunch of internet racists are upset that a fictional character is being played by a Black person. This is so ridiculous.”
Diverse TV series like “She-Hulk” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” were also review-bombed on Rotten Tomatoes.