Disney network defends casting black actress in 'Little Mermaid' after backlash
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A Disney-owned TV network defended the decision to cast a black actress to play Ariel in the upcoming remake of "The Little Mermaid" following complaints that the actress did not look like the cartoon mermaid. 

In "an open letter to the Poor, Unfortunate Souls" posted to Instagram, Disney's Freeform emphasized the talent of singer and actress Halle Bailey, who was cast as the mermaid, noting that Ariel is a fictional character and does not have to be a particular race.

"Ariel...is a mermaid," said the letter. 

"The character of Ariel is a work of fiction," it added. "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.”

Disney has not yet responded to the backlash, which took over social media following the casting announcement last week. While many people, including some celebrities, celebrated Bailey's casting, critics used the hashtags #NotMyMermaid to slam the decision.  

Bailey is one half of R&B sister due Chloe x Halle.

Freeform's open letter jabbed directly at critics who have complained that because Hans Christian Andersen, the author of the original "Little Mermaid" fairytale, is Danish, Ariel should be white.

“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," the network wrote.