Disney is under fire after confirming that several stunt actors and extras in the studio’s new adaptation of “Aladdin” were applied makeup to darken their skin while filming the highly anticipated live-action movie starring Will Smith.
The studio defended its decision saying those whose skin was darkened were actually members of the film crew, not actors, who needed to “blend in” to the background better.
Guy Ritchie’s film, which is currently shooting in London but takes place in the fictional Middle Eastern city of Agrabah, has received several claims of “whitewashing” since the official cast was announced in July of 2017.
In an interview with BBC's Newsbeat, a spokesperson from Disney made a statement clarifying the importance of their cast diversity and why the darker makeup was used on set.
"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 spokesperson said.
But Kaushal Odedra, who worked as an extra, told BBC Newsbeat and the Sunday Times that he witnessed around 20 "very fair-skinned" actors having makeup applied to darken their skin while on set.
"Aladdin was the perfect time to show diversity but also be accurate," he told Newsbeat. "They're being out of touch with what's going on around them."
Actors like Kal Penn, who is known for his “Harold & Kumar” films, called Disney’s "browning up" of the white crew members “BS.”
Penn took to Twitter to address the matter and said:"I love @Disney so much. But when a PR person says they decided to put 100 people in brown face in 2018 because not enough of us are qualified, that's bs, someone just didn't want to spend the $ to do it right."
"Aladdin" is scheduled for release in the spring of 2019.