We’re just eight days into 2018, and Disney is already being accused of some low-key racist actions. One of their latest live-action productions, Aladdin, which is set in the fictional Middle Eastern kingdom of Agrabah, made great strides with its diverse casting, but when it comes to their extras, it sounds like the studio has fallen back on some old habits.
According to The Times, while the film had 400 of its 500 background actors of Indian, Middle Eastern, African, Mediterranean, and Asian descent, they’ve cast 100 white extras to help fill in the ranks. The reason cited is that they couldn’t find non-white stuntmen, dancers, and camel handlers, and due to scheduling had to hire who they ended up with.
However, that’s not what’s making headlines. The big news is that Disney opted to “browning up” dozens of their actors for Asian crowd scenes. In the piece from the outlet, extra Kaushal Odedra recounted seeing as many as 20 “very fair skinned” actors lining up outside makeup tents in order to get their skin darkened.
In a statement to Deadline, a Disney spokesperson defended their decision, saying:
“Great care was taken to put together one of the largest most diverse casts ever seen on screen. Diversity of our cast and background performers was a requirement and only in a handful of instances when it was a matter of specialty skills, safety and control (special effects rigs, stunt performers and handling of animals) were crew made up to blend in.”
What do you think of this? Is it an action that should be frowned upon, or a necessary evil of the business? Let us know your thoughts down below!