CNN  — 

Ever since Disney released the first look for its 2023 live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid,” the internet has been sodden with wave after wave of racist critics complaining that Ariel, the completely fictional underwater fish woman, shouldn’t be Black. Hashtags like #notmyariel are bouncing around social media, and YouTube hid the dislike counter on the official video after it was bombarded with racist comments and more than 1.5 million “dislikes.” One group of critics went as far as to share a digitally altered version of the teaser that featured a White woman in place of the movie’s star Halle Bailey, who they called a “woke actress.”

By now, we know it’s not unusual to see racist responses whenever a person of color is cast in a role considered “traditionally” White. While there are plenty of legitimate reasons to dislike a movie, these critics often hide their discomfort behind other thin arguments, claiming historical or cultural accuracy or, of all things, science.

Here are some real arguments people have levied to protest the casting choice. The facts prove they just don’t hold water.

Claim: ‘The Little Mermaid’ is a Danish story, therefore Ariel should be White

The original “Little Mermaid” story was written by Hans Christian Andersen and first published in 1837. If we’re going to dignify this argument, according to the text, Ariel and the rest of her mermaid kin are from “far out in the ocean” (literally the opening lines of the story) at the “bottom of the sea.” So, not Denmark or anywhere near it.

If critics are truly worried about staying faithful to the original story, we shouldn’t gloss over the original ending where the mermaid is instructed to kill her prince, but throws the knife away in despair and dissolves into sea foam instead. Not to mention, while the 1989 Disney version has a Prince Eric with bright blue peepers, Anderson specifically described the prince as having “coal-black eyes” and “raven hair.” (Also “The Little Mermaid,” who doesn’t even have a name in the original story, isn’t real.)

Claim: Mermaids live under the sea and therefore would not have dark skin