PITCH: Is Disney deliberately creating racist controversy? Tapping into genuine racial equality on screen

Halle Bailey as the Little Mermaid. Photograph: Disney

Story Topic and Angle

With the controversial Disney film The Little Mermaid (2023) just two months away from its release in Australia, I would like to convey my opinion on the social controversy over racism caused by the film through this news commentary article.

Since Disney released the trailer for the upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, there has been a dramatic wave of discussion on the internet. Opinions in society are becoming polarised, with the hashtag of #NotMyAriel was created on social media to against Disney’s casting, also with the view of opposing extreme racist like Guardian columnist Arwa Mahdawi has argued that racist critics have polluted the Little Mermaid’s underwater world with bigotry.

The argument of this commentary is that Disney simply replacing the roles of the white princesses in the original animation with black actors does not really achieve racial equality on the screen. Instead, increasing the involvement of Tiana, Disney’s only black princess, enriching Tiana’s story line and increasing publicity or even creating new black princess characters would be the right way to truly honour the call for racial equality.

Publication and Target User

The most recent news article on The Sydney Morning Herald on the film The Little Mermaid is six months old. Nearing the film’s release date, this news commentary wished to be published in the The Sydney Morning Herald (in the section of ‘Cultures – Movies’) as a way of refreshing the news about the film within the news site, with summarising and commenting on existing debates about racism in Australian society. This story will be newsworthy and timeliness.

Source of Information

Human – Target interviewees:

I plan to interview the above three professors from the University of Sydney and invite them to analyse the issue of racism in the casting of The Little Mermaid from the perspectives of three different disciplines: film studies, digital culture, and public relations, as well as to discuss how screen works can properly achieve racial equality.

Other source of information includes online academic articles with the key words of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Screen Culture.

Multimedia, Hyperlink & Interactivity

Due to the particularly intense racist debate in social media arising around the film The Little Mermaid and hashtag of #NotMyAriel, the article will consider embedding tweets as a form of multimedia online delivery, aiming to increase the scannability of the article that allow readers to quickly target the topic community and get a comprehensive view of the news.

In addition, the article will also be embedded with YouTube trailer videos of the film, allowing readers who are not aware of the story to have easy access to cross-media content.

As the author of the article, I will also launch a voting on my personal social media accounts to see whether users will support the film The Little Mermaid in cinemas and include a hyperlink to the voting channel in the article to increase the engagement of the article and the interactivity of the readers.


  1. The movie “The Little Mermaid” is scheduled to be released in Australia in just two months. Hence, it has been chosen as the subject of analysis due to its timely and proximate news value. The underlying theme of the commentary is profound, as it pertains to the issue of racial discrimination. Additionally, the experts interviewed are highly authoritative, and the article’s multimedia and interactive elements are well-designed. Instead of limiting the discussion to the controversy surrounding racial discrimination in film expression techniques, it might be more beneficial to explore the broader societal implications of this issue, elevating its status and importance for the entire community.

    • Hi Xuan! Thanks a lot for your comment and advices! I’ll consider in my assignment 3. All the best for your assignments, cheers!

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