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Josh Gad Defends Mermaid Casting

When Trolls Strike, Josh Gad to the Rescue

Internet trolls have been having a field day lately with Disney. It started with the casting of Halle Bailey, who is African American, in the role of Ariel in The Little Mermaid. The backlash continued with the casting of Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell in Peter Pan and Wendy. Fan backlash even struck the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the casting of Nigerian-born British actor Chukwudi Iwuji as the High Evolutionary, in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. 

Josh Gad Defends Mermaid Casting

It would seem that the internet dislikes the casting of these fictional characters that were traditionally white with African American actresses. However, it should be pointed out that in the comic books, the High Evolutionary, Rocket’s creator is purple. But that simple fact and the fact that these are all fictional children’s characters have not deterred the trolls from striking.

This past week, Disney debuted the newest trailer for The Little Mermaid at the Academy Awards. At the ceremony, both Bailey and Melissa McCarthy, who plays Ursella, introduced the trailer, which has also caused Disney some controversy. According to reports, Disney paid between $7-$10 million to have the introduction by the two stars and to have the trailer played during the commercial break.

Since The Little Mermaid Trailer’s debut, there has been a coordinated effort online to dislike the trailer on its Twitter page. In what is a childish attempt to show displeasure with the casting, there are more than 3,000,000 dislikes so far. For comparison, when the live-action Beauty and the Beast (2017) trailer debuted, it registered around 10,000 dislikes, while The Lion King (2019) had about 45,000.

But never fear; Olaf was there to save the day. Disney actor and Frozen star, Josh Gad, came to the defense of The Little Mermaid casting in reacting to a tweet from Call to Activism that called out the online hate.

Gad responded with:

Imagine being so broken and pathetic in life that your chief concern is the skin color of …a make believe singing mermaid.

Gad’s tweet received more than 21,700 likes in the less than 24 hours it has been up. This isn’t the first time that the voice of Olaf has reacted to fan hate online. He has hit back at Frozen fans who were critical of his political stances and defended the almost kiss between his character, LeFou, and Gaston in the live-action Beauty and the Beast.

Josh Gad Defends Mermaid Casting

Josh Gad as LeFou and Luke Evans as Gaston in ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Credit: whatsondisneyplus.com

Josh Gad is best known as the voice of everyone’s favorite snowman Olaf from the Frozen series. He also played LeFou, Gaston’s sidekick, in Beauty and the Beast, and more recently spent some time as a boat captain on Disney’s Jungle Cruise. Gad is currently starring as William Shakespeare in Mel Brook’s History of the World: Part II on Disney-owned Hulu and he will be reprising his role as LeFou in an upcoming Beauty and the Beast TV miniseries.

The live-action Little Mermaid will be in theaters on May 26. The film star Bailey, McCarthy, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, and Javier Bardem as King Triton.

We will continue to keep you updated on this story at Disney Fanatic.

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.