If you follow along Disturbed frontman David Draiman on social media, you know he has a lot of thoughts on politics, society, music and other hot topics. His latest is to address the “bums” that have sparked unnecessary controversy over Disney’s casting of a black actress to star as Ariel in a live-action version of the classic animated film, The little Mermaid.
On Friday, September 16, the singer posted a message on his personal Twitter account“If you have a problem with a dark-skinned person playing the role of a fantasy creature like Ariel the mermaid, you’re not really concerned about ‘sticking to the original story,’ you’re just a bigot.”
Draiman was directly referring to those who have made veiled statements since Disney announced in 2019 that actress and singer Halle Bailey (one half of sibling pop duo Chloe x Halle) would be in the lead role, saying that the choice is inconsistent with the original portrayal of the animated character, who was seen as a white , red-haired woman.
The conversation took on a life of its own again last week when Disney released the trailer for the film, which is slated for a May 2023 theatrical debut. Blabbermouth reports that there was so much backlash on the YouTube video site that the beloved brand took the step of disabling the ability to dislike it.
Bailey has focused on the positive reactions to her casting in the film, sharing a reel of reaction videos for it her Twitter account on September 12 by young black girls who have been delighted to see her in the lead role. As she shared The Hollywood Reporter“The fact that I get to represent all these little young black and brown boys and girls that are coming up is really special to me because I know that if I had it when I was younger, it would have changed my whole perspective on life.”
Other celebrities and personalities have spoken out about the backlash again this week, including Trevor Noah who addressed it in a piece for “The Daily Show.” CNN reporter Lisa France also weighed in while CNN wrote a “rebuttal to every racist Little Mermaid comment.”
Draiman’s comments on the matter come as he continues to be outspoken on socio-political issues, after a period when he was so disheartened by social media (calling it a “playground for trolls”) that he deleted his account back in 2015. But there are also music moments he also shares, as a retweet today celebrates the 20th anniversary of Disturbed’s second album, Believe.