Disney's Freeform has defended Halle Bailey against the backlash she's received since being cast as Ariel in the live-action reboot of 'The Little Mermaid'.
Since Disney announced that Chloe x Halle singer Halle, 19, would be portraying the titular character many angry fans took to social media to complain that Ariel was being changed from a red-head with blue eyes to a black character.
Some fans were so angry that an online petition titled #NotMyAriel was started in a bid to force Disney to recast the character with a white actress resembling look of the animated version.
Now Freeform - which is a subsection of the Disney Channel aimed at teens and young adults - has penned an open letter addressed to the "Poor, Unfortunate Souls" who have a problem with Halle's casting, calling on them to embrace the "incredible, sensational, highly-talented" actress.
Posted on the official Freeform TV Twitter account, the letter read: "Yes. The original author of The Little Mermaid was Danish. Ariel...is a mermaid. She lives in an underwater kingdom in international waters and can legit swim wherever she wants (even though that often upsets King Triton, absolute zaddy)
"But for the sake of argument, let's say that Ariel, too, is Danish. Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black.
"Ariel can sneak up to the surface at any time with her pals Scuttle and the *ahem* Jamaican crab Sebastian (sorry, Flounder!) and keep that bronze base tight. Black Danish people, and this mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair.
"But spoiler alert - bring it back to the top - the character of Ariel is a work of fiction. So after all this is said and done, and you still cannot get past the idea that choosing the incredible, sensational, highly-talented, gorgeous Halle Bailey is anything other than the INSPIRED casting that it is because she 'doesn't look like the cartoon one,' oh boy, do I have some news for you...about you."
Despite some fans negative reaction, the Chloe x Halle singer's casting has been praised by a host of stars including Chrissy Teigen, Willow Smith, Gigi Hadid, Teyana Taylor, Miguel and Normani.