the little Mermaid He was criticized by a prominent advocate of media diversity for failing to acknowledge the horrors of slavery in the Caribbean.
Marcus Ryder, an influential British activist who also heads the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, celebrated Halle Bailey’s casting but objected to the film’s glossy depiction of racial harmony.
After watching the new Disney movie with his six-year-old son, Ryder felt compelled Write a blog About the movie he said he missed an opportunity to teach children with kindness.
Ryder said the little Mermaid It appears to be set in the 18th century at the time of African slavery, but the fictional inhabitants of the Caribbean islands close to Atlantica live in a world devoid of human rights atrocities.
“I don’t think we’re doing our kids any favors by pretending slavery doesn’t exist,” he wrote in the blog titled “The Little Mermaid, Caribbean Slavery, and Telling Kids the Truth.”
“Setting the fictional story in this time and place is literally equivalent to setting a love story between a Jew and a Gentile in 1940 Germany and ignoring the Jewish Holocaust.”
Ryder admitted it the little Mermaid It is fantasy and the story need not be faithful to history, but he argued that children are not well served by overlooking the past.
He said Disney could have shot the film in Haiti after it toppled the shackles of slavery, with Ariel meeting her prince against the backdrop of a blossoming of racial harmony.
He said, “We owe it to our children to provide them with the most wonderful fairy tales possible to help their imaginations grow.” “We don’t do this by ‘whitewashing’ the difficult parts of our history. We do this by embracing our rich history and empowering them with the truth.”
Ryder posted about the blog on Twitter, but received negative feedback from users on the social network, who said: the little Mermaid It should be treated as nothing more than a fairy tale. He later deleted the viral tweet because it was “widely misunderstood”.
In a Twitter post detailing his comments, Ryder said he enjoyed the film, which he praised for its portrayal of black beauty and diversity on screen. He raised questions about diversity behind the camera. Directed and written by Rob Marshall and David Magee the little Mermaid respectively.
He wrote: “The sad truth is that this wonderful movie made me worry that Disney was not taking seriously this very sensitive time and place which must be taken very carefully because of the atrocities that took place there – especially for impressionable children”.
In a statement to Deadline, Ryder said, “The whole issue points to how important representation is. And while it wasn’t fun to be the target of a Twitter attack, the positive I hope it shows movie studios is that if you increase diversity, you can Getting a loyal, committed audience that loudly defends your film from even the slightest perception of criticism, that’s the kind of audience participation that money can’t buy. Even if in this case you think the perceived criticism is misunderstood.”
Disney has been contacted for comment.
Ryder is Head of External Consultancy at the Sir Lenny Henry Center for Media Diversity. He previously worked for the BBC and chaired the Royal Television Society’s Diversity Committee.