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Following the initial publishing of the article, “Halle Bailey Wows in Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ Trailer and Drowns Out the Noise,” 360 Baseline Movement shared the link on Reddit in the Subreddit group: r/celebrities.
In less than a few hours, the post racked up 130,000 views, and over 160 comments including a mix of antagonizing remarks and almost equally supportive comments highlighting the beautiful aspects of the film teaser trailer. Some even begin to discuss the ignorance displayed in the disparaging remarks while the upvoting and downvoting spectacle began.
A mix of preference, ignorance, and possibly racist undertones were reflected and debated amongst users about celebrity, Halle Bailey, playing Ariel.
Take a peek at the comments:
Soon after, the post was banned by moderators. And then 360 Baseline Movement’s account was banned from the group for publishing the article sharing the excitement behind Halle Bailey as The Little Mermaid and highlighting the impact on communities across the world.
360 Baseline Movement’s executive director messaged subreddit moderators to give them an opportunity to explain the reason for the ban on the account, as it appeared group rules were followed appropriately.
The team feels the moderators are corroborating the backlash and racial commentators on an article meant to uplift Halle Bailey, supporters, and black & brown communities.
Are Mods Corroborating the Backlash and Racial Comments?
Instead of shutting down the racist comments, the entertainment news publisher was punished for celebrating a talented artist, who’s a good representation of Generation Z, the Black Community, and America as a whole.
It appears to 360’s team, that the mods, in this case, could be unjustly using their position of control by targeting a marginalized group(s) on Reddit by banning select posts that reflect inspirational content for Black Americans and publishers who support it. This seems evident in the fact that the recent posts featuring negative headlines about Black Americans were ranking high, one recently with 100+ upvotes, without the same treatment as the Halle Bailey and The Little Mermaid post celebrating art and success.
The unjust ban of the publisher further reopened an ongoing discussion about how negative headlines and positive headlines are not treated equally; not solely in public opinion as one problem, but most importantly by people in positions of control and high influence on the promotion of information and entertainment.
The Purposeful Whitewashing History in the Entertainment Industry is Called Out By Tik Tokers Following The Little Mermaid Backlash
The entertainment industry has been historically guilty of systematically whitewashing history and entertainment to the point that many dissenters have become so “accustomed to privilege” of representation that now “equality feels like discrimination and oppression,” as noted by Lianne Kaye.
@liann.kaye Whitewashing in Hollywood #hallebailey #littlemermaid #thelittlemermaid #disney #whitewashing #racism #diversity #film #representation ♬ original sound – liann.kaye
Advocates online like Lianne Kaye help minimize the knee-jerk reaction of dissenters to use self-victimization terms like ‘reverse racism’ to excuse their beliefs and behavior.
The History of Race Swapping
Dissenters gleefully advocate for the intentional future ‘race-swapping’ to white actors as an attempt to prove a point; ignoring the little representation available of black and brown characters that are displayed in films mostly designed to highlight different cultures and explained cultural elements in the plot.
Can’t wait for white guy or an asian as a next black panther.Reddit User, Berze…
Race swapping in general is annoying because We all know that…they wouldn’t race swap tradition black characters…Reddit User, Berze…
Hahaha noway!Reddit User, Curlygirly…
Haha people will cry left and right. But won’t happen ever.Reddit User, Berze…
Response to the backlash and comments like the ones above:
@mandypants425 Just imagine…@call_me_cameo ♬ original sound – Mandy Simmons
@ashleywhitfield44 I think I figured it out. #greenscreen #thelittlemermaid #hallebailey #littlemermaid #blackcreators #bipoc #poc #🏳️🌈 ♬ original sound – Ashley Whitfield
However, accountability and correction seem nonexistent, which could help lead these folks to vindication; And ultimately, open the door for a better society for all of us. Or at least, a place where kids from all backgrounds can enjoy films like The Little Mermaid.
@mckensea Ariel isn’t real, nor are mermaids. Glad we had this talk. #sciencetok #thelittlemermaid #womeninstem #learnontiktok ♬ original sound – mckensea⚓️
Deflection and gaslighting seem to be the easiest route. This is called out by Cameron Tate Hoskins.
@tatehoskins imagine being upset at a mermaids skin color 😭 #disney #thelittlemermaid #hallebailey ♬ original sound – Cameron Tate Hoskins
The Impact of Representation in Entertainment TV Shows & Films like The Litte Mermaid. What’s more important?
@chelseahartisme #duet with @freeda_en I love this Ariel so much. #freeda #Totinos425 #trending #littlemermaid ♬ Canyons – Official Sound Studio
Online spaces are an interesting reflection of society, comprised of complex people and psychological issues in the world. Especially on topics where the latest celebrity news and current social issues converge.
Social platforms consist of vastly different audience reactions to entertainment news + social issues like the Little Mermaid topic as brought to light.
View more reactions to the original article.
These reactions show how humans with homogenous personalities and beliefs gravitate towards each other in the real world and online; creating spaces like ‘echo chambers,’ and alternatively, creative rooms for inspiration. The instant gratification of reaffirming one’s own belief to solidify internal feelings about life and self has been selected by social networks to increase usage by users and keep people on their platforms. These tools have an apparent impact on society.
Are Reddit’s upvoting, downvoting, and mod features being used as a tool for systemic racism online?
The upvoting and downvoting on the 360 article post on Reddit proved to be a mixed pot of many opinions of people in American society, rather racists, toxic, or supportive. The downvoting of positive content about Black Americans, especially content that reflects overcoming a struggle ties directly to the success of exposure of that content to the audience that needs to see it the most. The upvoting of negative content seems to be used as an alternative tool. This is one major Reddit issue in large subreddits.
The other major issue is moderators banning uplifting black entertainment news that celebrates black artists who succeed in overcoming struggles and providing inspiration for black audiences, especially kids excited to see The Little Mermaid.
Moderators, Entertainment News, Social Issues, and Information
At first glance, this could be seen as a derailment of one of 360 Baseline Movement’s goals as a nonprofit to highlight popular conversations and issues to bring about positive change and impact in the world as we know it today. However, the team chooses to use this as an opportunity to bring recognition to the issue of representation and downplaying of positive influence by not only the dissenters but gatekeepers. This is evident in the entertainment industry and the everyday life of workers around the country.
Ultimately, the impact of positive vs negative news content that affects the world’s perception of Black Americans is a discussion to be had, and 360 Baseline has responded accordingly to bring content that focuses on solutions and inspirations for various communities and audiences. And leadership has decided to put more focus on building social profiles following to cultivate progressive discussions and help create change in the entertainment industry/markets and communities.