Disney defends controversial decision to ‘brown up’ white actors in Aladdin

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 29: Cast members of Broadway's Aladdin attends Times Square Prepares For 2015 - Confetti Test at New Amsterdam Theatre on December 29, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)

(WFLA) — Disney’s latest live-action movie production of “Aladdin” is under fire after reports surfaced of white actors being made to look darker to fit the ethnicity of the storyline.

Fury broke out on social media after Kaushal Odedra claimed more than 20 “very fair skinned” actors were waiting in line outside of make-up tents to have their skin darkened before filming started, according to The Times article.

According to IMDb, Kaushal Odedra is a stand-in for one of the lead actors of the film.

Later in a statement, Disney confirmed white actors were “made up to blend in” for crowd scenes, but only in a “handful of instances”.

Disney released the following statement:

“Great care was taken to put together one of the largest most diverse casts ever seen on screen,” responded a Disney spokesperson. “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.”

Reportedly 400 out of 500 extras in the film identify as Indian, Middle Eastern, African, Mediterranean or Asian. But, it’s the other 100 white stand-in actors that are making folks furious.

The live-action flick stars Will Smith as the GenieNaomi Scott as Princess Jasmine and Mena Massoud as Aladdin. 

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