Diverse ‘Snow White’ Remake Is Latest Film To Anger Anti-’Woke’ Crowd


Disney’s Snow White live-action remake—which features a more diverse cast, including Hispanic actress Rachel Zegler as the titular princess—is angering right-wing commentators, many of whom have branded a series of movies including The Little Mermaid, Elemental and Barbie as “woke” for embracing diverse casting and feminist themes.

Key Facts

Disney’s live-action remake of its 1937 animated classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is slated to hit theaters in March 2024, starring Zegler as Snow White and Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen.

Like the live-action Little Mermaid remake, Disney cast a woman of color to play a character that was white in the animated original.

An interview of Zegler has resurfaced and attracted criticism on right-wing social media circles, in which she states the remake will be more modernized: “It’s no longer 1937… She’s not going to be saved by the prince, and she’s not going to be dreaming about true love. She’s dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be.”

Disney also changed its approach to the seven dwarfs for the live-action edition, casting a diverse set of actors, including reportedly just one actor who has dwarfism as well as actors of different races, sparking more criticism.

Fox News hosts Harris Faulkner and Howard Kurtz criticized the film’s casting choices in a segment this week, with Kurtz accusing Disney of going “increasingly woke and turning off many fans who want to go to the movies and have a good time” and Faulkner stating the film will “divide us even further.”

Former Fox News host Megyn Kelly questioned the diverse casting of the dwarfs on her YouTube channel, stating the film has been “racialized to check every box they can, except for all the dwarf boxes because they’re offensive—I guess you can only have the one dwarf, that’s not offensive.”

Kelly also pointed out the story comes from a German tale about a princess with “skin as white as snow,” criticizing Disney for casting a Hispanic actress as the title character.

Conservative pundit Ben Shaprio criticized Zegler’s comments, accusing Disney of making Snow White into a “girlboss” story by focusing on female empowerment instead of her journey to find true love.

End Wokeness—a popular right-wing Twitter account with 1.4 million followers—tweeted the video of Zegler stating Snow White would no longer be saved by the prince, accusing Disney of trying to lose money by producing “woke” films.


The film’s updated portrayal of the seven dwarfs, which was revealed through set pictures which leaked earlier this month, follows a January 2022 rebuke from Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage, who criticized the company for remaking a “backward story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together.” In a statement that same month, Disney said in an effort to “avoid reinforcing stereotypes from the original animated film,” it was “consulting with members of the dwarfism community” to inform its approach to those seven characters.

Key Background

Snow White is just the latest in a series of films, including some produced by Disney, that have angered right-wing critics for being too “woke.” The Little Mermaid garnered racist backlash after casting Halle Bailey in the role of Ariel, with some angered viewers tweeting the hashtag, #NotMyAriel. Prior to the film’s release, Bailey said the racist backlash wasn’t a shock and said she instead chooses to focus on positive reactions from young Black girls watching her as Ariel. The much-hyped Barbie, which opened on July 21, also sparked anger among conservative audiences for its portrayal of feminist themes and for what some felt was an emasculating portrayal of Ryan Gosling’s Ken. Shapiro uploaded a 43-minute-long criticism of the film to his YouTube (which also sparked online mockery) and Elon Musk criticized the film’s focus on the patriarchy in a tweet. Ginger Gaetz, the wife of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), called for a boycott of the film despite attending a premiere event all decked out in pink, alleging it neglects to “address any notion of faith or family” and tries to “normalize the idea that men and women can’t collaborate positively.” Disney’s 2023 animated film Elemental also sparked some anger for including a nonbinary character.

Surprising Fact

Some right-wing critics have tried to link “woke” films with low box office numbers. Though Elemental did underperform, grossing $358 million worldwide against a $200 million budget, The Little Mermaid more than doubled its budget at the box office and Barbie is vastly exceeding expectations, grossing $356 million worldwide after just four days in theaters and almost immediately becoming one of the biggest films of the year.


In addition to targeting several “woke” films, right-wing audiences are championing Sound of Freedom, a surprise box office hit inspired by the anti-child sex trafficking pursuits of former government agent Tim Ballard. The film has made $124 million at the domestic box office since its July 4 opening, making it the 15th highest-grossing film of the year so far and outperforming big hits like Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One and The Flash. The film’s highest-profile allies have included former president Donald Trump, who screened it at his New Jersey golf club, as well as pundits Shapiro, Jordan Peterson and Sean Hannity, who have interviewed Ballard and the film’s star Jim Caviezel. The movie has attracted scrutiny for its ties to the QAnon conspiracy theory, which promotes the idea Hollywood elites and Democrats run a global child sex trafficking ring. Caviezel has spoken at several QAnon-affiliated events and promoted the baseless adrenochrome theory, the idea these elites are kidnapping and murdering children to harvest the “adrenochrome” chemical from their blood to stay young. Ballard also defended the adrenochrome theory on Peterson’s YouTube channel, alleging it is happening in parts of Africa. The film’s distributor, Angel Studios, denies any connection to conspiracy theories.

Further Reading

‘Barbie’ Largely Praised For Feminist Themes—But Draws Anger From The Anti-Woke (Forbes)

‘Sound Of Freedom’ Ahead Of Big-Budget ‘Mission: Impossible,’ ‘The Flash’ And ‘Scream VI’ In U.S. Box Office (Forbes)

Box Office Hit ‘Sound Of Freedom’ Controversy—Including QAnon Ties And False Claims Theaters Are Sabotaging Screenings—Explained (Forbes)

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