Halle Bailey in Grown-ish

Kelsey McNeal/Freeform

Freeform has a message for "the Poor, Unfortunate Souls" out there.

The network spoke out on Sunday in defense of Disney's newly-minted "Little Mermaid" star Halle Bailey after a wave of online criticism infiltrated the celebration of the news that she had been cast as Ariel. In an Instagram post, Freeform had strong words for the #NotMyAriel types and made it clear that there's no reason the upcoming live-action remake's titular mermaid has to "look like the cartoon one."

Freeform's statement in defense of Bailey smacks down the logic holes in the complaints and describes the "Grown-ish" actress as "incredible, sensational, highly talented, [and] gorgeous." It reminds everyone that "The Little Mermaid" is fictional, so its characters don't have to look any particular way. Finally, it ends with something for the people who are still stuck on how Bailey looks to reflect on -- namely, what their opposition to her casting says about them.

Here's the full letter directed 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. 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. Back Danish people, and thus mer-folk, can also *genetically* (!!!) have red hair. But spoiler alert - bring it back to the top - the character of Ariel is a work of fiction. So after all this is said and done, and you still cannot get past the idea that choosing the increidble, sensational, highly-talented, gorgeous Halle Bailey is anything other than the INSPIRED casting that it is because she "doesn't look like the cartoon one", oh boy, do I have some news for you...about you.


View this post on Instagram


An open letter to the Poor, Unfortunate Souls: ______ #TheLittleMermaid #Ariel #MyAriel

A post shared by Freeform (@freeform) on

Freeform has been joined by plenty of others who are here for our new Ariel. They're using hashtags like #MyAriel and #MyArielIsBlack on social media.

[via: Freeform/Instagram; h/t: THR]