Few fans went far enough to start a petition titled #NotMyAriel in order to have Disney recast the character with preferably a white actress with red hair resembling the 1989 animated film.
After receiving criticism, Freeform posted "An open letter to the Poor, Unfortunate Souls."
"Yes. The original author of The Little Mermaid was Danish. Ariel...is a mermaid. She lives in an underwater kingdom in international waters and can legit swim wherever she wants (even though that often upsets King Triton, absolute zaddy). But for the sake of argument, let's say that Ariel, too, is Danish," the post read.
"Danish mermaids can be black because Danish *people* can be black. Ariel can sneak up to the surface at any time with her pals Scuttle and the *ahem* Jamaican crab Sebastian (sorry, Flounder!) and keep that bronze base tight. Black Danish people, and this mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair," the letter continued.
Defending the 'Grown-ish' actor, Freeform further reminded people that the story and the character of Ariel were fictional.