The live-action remake of The Little Mermaid has been surrounded by controversy since its announcement. The casting of Halle Bailey, a Black actress, as Ariel faced a backlash against The Little Mermaid fans who expected a white actress to portray the character.

Another controversy over “The Little Mermaid” arose when Melissa McCarthy, a white actress, was cast as Ursula instead of a drag queen, disappointing fans who wanted to see a more faithful representation of the character.

The trailer’s realistic depiction of Flounder, Ariel’s friend, also drew criticism from fans who found it too scary. Furthermore, concerns were raised about the film’s use of CGI, with some critics feeling it took away from the magic of the original animated film.

Despite the controversies, The Little Mermaid holds a rating of 68% on Rotten Tomatoes. Real Research conducted a survey to gather public opinions on the controversy over “The Little Mermaid.”


  • 32.89% of the respondents believed that race does not matter.
  • 44.4% are in favor of the decision to cast a Black actor.
  • 37.19% believed originality is crucial when remaking an old movie.

According to the survey on the casting controversy over “The Little Mermaid,” we found that 28% of the respondents believed a white protagonist would have been more suitable in the movie. Whereas, 22% stated an Asian protagonist, and 17% stated a Black actor for the role of “The Little Mermaid.”

Meanwhile, 33% of the respondents stated that race does not matter.

When we asked the respondents what they thought about the casing of a Black actor for the role of “The Little Mermaid,” nearly half of the respondents (44%) were in favor of the decision to cast a Black actor, 37% were opposed to it, and 19% remained neutral.

Figure 1: Respondents’ opinions over casting a Black actor as the protagonist.

Examining the Benefits and Justifications

We questioned the respondents who were in favor of casting a Black actor to find out why. A majority of them (60%) stated that it helps promote diversity and representation, giving communities a sense of inclusion.

In addition, 28% said that given the increasing trend of “Black Lives Matter” cast of The Little Mermaid can make the movie more successful, 6% said there is no obligation to have a White actor play the protagonist role, and 6% said it could help change social stereotypes and perceptions.

In contrast, when we asked the respondents who were opposed to casting a Black actor, 23% said that the film was unilaterally cast and produced without interaction with the audience.

Moreover, 21% said the character and the casting do not match well, 19% said it restricts audiences from getting immersed in the story, and 16% said the film ruined the original story.

Disney has promoted “political correctness.” Considering the recent controversy over “The Little Mermaid,” do you think Disney should continue promoting “political correctness?”

Read Also: More Than 50% Will Watch Disney’s Live Remake of The Little Mermaid

Re-evaluating Disney’s Embrace of ‘Political Correctness’: Controversy Over ‘The Little Mermaid’

Disney has been accused of promoting “political correctness” in recent years. This is due to the company’s efforts to include more diverse characters and storylines in its films and television shows.

For example, in the 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin, Jasmine was portrayed as a more independent and empowered character than in the original animated film. Additionally, the 2020 film Raya and the Last Dragon featured a predominantly Asian cast and a storyline that explored themes of diversity and inclusion.

Whether or not Disney should continue promoting “political correctness” is a complex question with no easy answer. On the one hand, some people believe that Disney has a responsibility to promote positive messages of diversity and inclusion in its films.

According to our survey about the controversy over “The Little Mermaid,” we found that 34% of the respondents had no opinion on whether Disney should continue promoting political correctness.

Furthermore, 19% believed that Disney should maintain a similar level in promoting it, 16% said Disney should strongly promote it, another 16% said Disney should give up promoting it, and 14% said Disney should promote it less.

Figure 2: Should Disney continue promoting political correctness?

Lastly, the survey poll asked the respondents what considerations should be taken into action in remaking an old movie.

The results revealed that 37% of respondents said that it should reflect the values of modern times, compared to another 37% who said that it should be made to resemble the original movie as much as possible.

Lastly, 26% of the respondents had no opinion on this statement.

Figure 3: What considerations should be taken into account when remaking an old movie?


Survey TitleSurvey on the Casting Controversy over ‘The Little Mermaid’
DurationJune 2, 2023 – June 9, 2023
Number of Participants10,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.