When Rachel Zegler was initially cast in the role of Snow White in Disney’s live action remake of the animated film, online trolls went on the attack. At the time, fellow Disney Princess Halle Bailey backed her up, and she has come to support her again.
This week, after the Daily Mail shared photos taken on set in Bedfordshire, UK, people are harassing Zegler and anyone associated with the movie again. The photos show that Snow White’s titular seven dwarves are now a crew of characters who are quite diverse in height, age, race, and gender. The cast has changed considerably, especially since Greta Gerwig co-wrote the movie and excised the Prince Charming from the script. It’s different from both Disney’s original and from the fairy tale first published by the Brothers Grimm. Zegler has talked about how the story needed “refreshing.”
“Never in a million years did I imagine that this would be a possibility for me,” she said. “You don’t normally see Snow Whites of Latin descent, even though Snow White is a big deal in Spanish-speaking countries. People are making these jokes about ours being the PC Snow White . . . yeah, it is — because it needed that.”
She added, “It’s an 85-year-old cartoon and our version is a refreshing story about a young woman who has a function beyond ‘Someday My Prince Will Come.’”
In a now deleted tweet, Zegler also wrote, “Yes I am Snow White; no, I am not bleaching my skin for the role.”
With the new photos, trolls are bothering Zegler again. On Saturday, July 15, she asked to be left out of it.
“extremely appreciative of the love i feel from those defending me online, but please don’t tag me in the nonsensical discourse about my casting,” she wrote on Twitter. “i really, truly do not want to see it.so i leave you w these photos! i hope every child knows they can be a princess no matter what.”
The Little Mermaid actress quote-tweeted Zegler, writing, “we love you so much truly the perfect princess.”
Bailey has faced a lot of racism and hostility online since she was cast as the live-action Ariel for Disney’s recent wildly successful live-action remake, and is probably one of the few people who really understand what Zegler is facing right now.
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.