In 2017 you would think whitewashing and accusations thereof would be a thing of the past. Well we definitely thought wrong!
Casting news for Disney’s upcoming, live action remake of Aladdin has been marred by accusations of whitewashing after casting Power Rangers actress, Naomi Scott, in the role of Princess Jasmine!
To find the cast for its upcoming live-action reboot of the 1992 animated classic Aladdin, Disney and director Guy Ritchie reportedly undertook a months-long, worldwide search with an estimated 2,000 actors reading for the lead roles of Jasmine and Aladdin.
And after all that buildup, fans are still finding fault in the studio’s picks. Disney is catching some blowback for casting a non-Arab actress to play Jasmine.
Naomi Scott, who starred in this year’s Power Rangers film, landed the role alongside Mena Massoud as Aladdin, and Will Smith as Genie. Scott is of British and Indian heritage and some critics of the decision see it as a suggestion by Disney that women of Indian and Middle Eastern heritage look the same. Massoud is of Egyptian descent.
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To be clear, Aladdin—the story of a rough-and-tumble kid from the streets who enlists a genie to win the love of Princess Jasmine—is set in fictional Agrabah, but it’s largely seen as representing a Middle Eastern city.
One critic of the decision said it was one more instance of Hollywood believing that “brown [people] are interchangeable,” while another said fans are “upset that their representation was taken away, and rightly so.”
We have to say we are very disappointed with Disney’s casting decision. Naomi may be a great actor, but this is a role for an Indian actress. It was rumored Priyanka Chopra was up for the role and we were happy to hear it. Naomi, even if she is partly of Indian descent, is not seen or identified as an Indian woman. Disney really dropped the ball here. They better not try this with Princess Tiana if they get around to a The Princess and The Frog live action remake!
Written By: Michael “Hey Mikey” Fanning