Disney has just announced the leading cast members of its upcoming live-action remake of Aladdin, and many people across social media are now criticizing the company for its decision to cast Naomi Scott in the starring role of Jasmine.
The source of the online criticism stems from the fact that Scott herself is not Arabian, despite Disney’s decision to cast her as such for the film. Scott is of British and Indian heritage, and droves of angry commentators have taken to Twitter and other social media sites to point out as much.
Though Jasmine, the character, hails from the fictional country of Agrabah, the general assumption (at least as implied by the Disney version of the story) is that this country exists within the Arab world and that Jasmine is of Arabian descent.
In the wake of Disney’s hiring Scott for the role, some users have accused Disney of broadcasting the message that all “brown people” are interchangeable, while others have faulted the company for passing over actresses who are actually Arabian, in favor of one who is not.
i love naomi scott but i don't love the "brown ppl are interchangeable" idea that hollywood believes in so it's a no from me lmao
— T'CHALLA ????????✨ (@dirzacksnyder) July 15, 2017
how hard is to cast jasmine as arab? like disney really failed here. they found mena massoud and then picked naomi scott?
— wednesday addams (@yvngrani) July 15, 2017
I love Naomi Scott, but a half-Indian woman is not the answer to Jasmine.#Aladdin is an ARAB tale, based on ARAB culture, and ARAB history
— Treetachi (@LoneTempest) July 15, 2017
If i keep reading Naomi Scott was the perfect choice bc "no Arab women can sing/act like her" imma drop a thread on those who can do BETTER
— yasmin (@zarasglory) July 16, 2017
Yet the casting of Aladdin himself has received more favorable reactions, as the actor who is slated to play him, Mena Massoud, is of Egyptian background and thus technically Arabian like his character. Nonetheless, there remains some debate about this point as well.
Who Is Mena Massoud? Disney's 'Aladdin' Star Is A Newcomer In Hollywood – Bustle https://t.co/dUyiuNhR4E
— Hollywood Share (@HollywoodShare) July 17, 2017
Disney’s announcement that Massoud would be cast as Aladdin still came as a shock to people, as the fan favorite on social media had been 25-year-old Avan Jogia.
But some users pointed out that Jogia would have been a poor choice to play Aladdin due to his non-Arabic background. These users were quick to mention that it’s wrong for people to criticize Disney’s decision to cast Naomi Scott as Jasmine, while at the same time expressing disappointment that Jogia did not receive the titular role.
listen, accurate racial representation is REALLY important, but you aren't allowed to push Avan Jogia and then get mad about Naomi Scott.
— Shelby ⭐️ (@sepiabroadway) July 16, 2017
ok people are mad that Naomi Scott is Jasmine but she's non Arab but y'all were all for Avan Jogia as Aladdin???? stay consistent lol
— dalph rizon (@dizonyland) July 16, 2017
ppl complain abt Naomi Scott being wrong for Jasmine bc she's half white but at the same time want Avan Jogia when he's.. also.. half white
— Ken (@souppai) July 16, 2017
Disney also announced that the Genie character, who had been voiced by Robin Williams in the 1992 animated version of Aladdin, will be played by Will Smith in the live-action film.
Naomi Scott, Will Smith, And Mena Massoud Will Bring Aladdin To Life https://t.co/xYapV311MB
— Sreeram Narayanan (@SreeSteller) July 16, 2017
With the casting of Scott, Smith, and Massoud, the three major roles are now filled for the film. What remains to be seen are the supporting cast members who will also appear in this Guy Ritchie remake of the classic Disney musical.
[Featured Image by Chris Pizzello/AP Images]