AI 'Corrects' Ariel's Skin Color in Disney's Little Mermaid Remake
Looks like AI is being used terribly wrong these days.
Disney 's decision to cast Halle Bailey, a talented black actress and singer, as Ariel in The Little Mermaid remake was met with mixed reactions. While many applauded the inclusive casting, others were not so pleased.
The teaser trailer for the film scores 3.7 million dislikes on YouTube, and the full trailer received 2.8 million dislikes. Some people expressed their discontent over the change from the previously white-skinned, red-haired Ariel.
How AI Stirred Up the Controversy
In September of last year, an AI scientist took to X (formerly Twitter) to share a clip from Disney's The Little Mermaid edited by AI. The clip in question had the skin of Halle Bailey digitally altered to appear white.
This act of “whitewashing” (as one user put it) Ariel's character has sparked a massive outcry on social media, with many condemning the move as blatantly racist.
The X account @TenGazillioinIQ is now suspended. According to DailyMail, the tweet further claimed that the entire film could be “fixed” in this manner, hinting at the potential of AI to alter the film's visuals.
How People Responded
People on X were quick to express their outrage. Many pointed out the irony of altering Halle Bailey's appearance while keeping her voice, highlighting the problem of appreciating a black artist's talent but rejecting their skin color.
The user behind the tweet later tried to defend the post, stating that the alterations were purely educational and meant to showcase the capabilities of AI. However, this justification did little to quell the rising tide of criticism.
Upon the release of the movie, the general reactions to the remake were positive, with moviegoers appreciating Halle Bailey's portrayal of Ariel.
Critics have highlighted Halle Bailey's magical performance as the main attraction of the film, despite some of them believing that the movie overall may not live up to the expectations set by the original animated classic.
The film performed well at the box office, earning $570 million at the overall box office. That doesn't count the extra cash it's going to bring in from streaming, DVD sales, and broadcast rights.