Disney is facing backlash after “browning up” white actors to appear in Aladdin according to a report in The Sunday Times. While 400 of the 500 extras on the film are Indian, Middle Eastern, African, Mediterranean or Asian, the other 100 are white actors who had makeup applied in order to fit in with the setting of Agrabah.
Disney said that the supplemented the casting with white actors to fill the need of stunt positions, dancers and camel handlers.” Many are asking how they could not meet the needs as the movie is filming just outside of diverse London.
A Disney spokesperson said, “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.”
The Guy Ritchie adaptation of Aladdin stars Will Smith as The Genie, British-Indian actress Naomi Scott as Jasmine and Egyptian-born Canadian Mena Massoud as Aladdin.