Search icon


15th Sep 2022

AI artist faces heavy backlash for ‘fixing’ Little Mermaid trailer

Tobi Akingbade

What was the need?

An artificial intelligence  artist has faced the fury of the internet after editing Disney’s new The Little Mermaid teaser trailer by replacing actor Halle Bailey with a white woman.

The trailer for the live action remake, which has been watched 16 millions times via the Walt Disney YouTube channel, has been dislike nearly 2 millions.

A lot of the criticism has come from people who do not wish for Princess Ariel to be portrayed by a bBlack woman.

In order to help those so pressed by a melanated human playing a mystical character, one Twitter user used AI technology to turn Halle Bailey into a white-skinned woman with fire-red hair, much like her previous animated Disney counterpart.

The tweet didn’t last long before it was suspended from existing. However, it read: “Credits to our memer Artificial Intelligence scientist @TenGazillioinIQ.

“He fixed The Little Mermaid, and turned the woke actor into a ginger white girl. He says he can fix the whole move comes out with 4x A6000 in 24 hours. It’s over for wokecels”

In a follow-up tweet, they had added: “Note for Twitter: This is for purely educational purposes, please do not misinterpret this in a racist way.

“I am just amazed by high-IQ friend who works with Artificial Intelligence and the stuff he can make, and wanted to show people his field of study.”

What an interesting way to make use of your talents …

Twitter users were quick to point out the absurdity, with one writing:

The unnecessary fix-it job, comes after a marine biologist suggested that The Little Mermaid being Black makes scientific sense.

Marine biologist Karen Osborn delivered a powerful blow to the racist backlash, by explaining exactly why mermaids would be black if they were real.

Speaking to BuzzFeed, the fish skin, scale and surface expert explained how, as you get deeper into the ocean, you see “lots of ultra-black fish” which have a “really good camouflage” – something which works as an advantage for both predators and prey.

So, as prey, “if you absorb all the light that hits you and the background behind you is black, then you blend in really well,” she said.

In terms of being a predator, Osborn detailed how if you’re trying to attract something, you don’t want to be obvious.

“So if the light disappears into their skin? No problem,” she said.

It turns out that if mermaids were real, Osborn thinks they would be transparent anyway, because that would make mermaids the most suited to habitats in shallower water.

“Because if they’re transparent, they can blend in pretty well,” Osborn said.

“But that makes for difficult movie shooting. I don’t think they’ll find any transparent actresses,” she added.

Despite all the negative, the teaser has also gone viral for a far more positive reason, with parents sharing their children’s reaction to seeing a Black woman as Ariel.

The Little Mermaid will be arriving in cinemas in May, 2023.

Related links: