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13 Reason Why’s Christian Navarro Slams Disney for Casting Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric in ‘Little Mermaid’

Christian Navarro isn’t feeling the magic from Disney these days. After auditioning to play Prince Eric in the upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, the 13 Reasons Why star slammed the company for picking “the white guy,” British actor Jonah Hauer-King, in the part.

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“Literally @disney saw a who’s who list of actors of color and STILL went with the white guy,” Navarro, 28, wrote on his Instagram Stories on Wednesday, November 13, according to a fan’s screenshot.

Christian Navarro Slams Disney for Casting Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric in Little Mermaid
Christian Navarro and Jonah Hauer-King. Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock; PIERRE VILLARD/SIPA/Shutterstock

“So much for diversity. I guess two brown leads would have tanked the movie right?” he added, referring to Halle Bailey — a black actress and one half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle — landing the role of Ariel in July.

Navarro briefly reactivated his Twitter account to address the latest casting news, per Daily Mail. “Just came back to say; after months of seeing every person of color they could think of for the role of Prince Eric, @DisneyStudios somehow still cast a white guy,” he tweeted, according to the site. “I guess diversity is just a word. And THATS Hollywood.”

“One brown person is enough, two brown leads is unthinkable,” he added.

The Bronx native angled for the role in August after Harry Styles turned down the part. “So I heard Harry Styles passed on Prince Eric,” Navarro tweeted at the time. “Well…I can sing. Black Ariel/Latino Prince…no ones called but Season 3 [of 13 Reasons Why] drops next week and I think it’s one hell of an audition.”

The following month, he gave Twitter followers an update, revealing he had auditioned for the part. “[Disney] gave my team a call,” he wrote. “They wanted to see what I could do. Tapes sent. Fingers crossed. Let’s make some history.”

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The casting of Hauer-King, 24, made headlines on Tuesday, November 12. The London native has appeared in the films Postcards from London, A Dog’s Way Home and The Song of Names and on the TV series Little Women and World on Fire.

The new Little Mermaid is an adaptation of the 1837 Hans Christian Andersen tale and an update on Disney’s 1989 animated film. According to earlier reports, Melissa McCarthy, Javier Bardem, Daveed Diggs are respectively in talks to play Ursula, King Triton and Sebastian, while Awkwafina and Jacob Tremblay are circling the parts of Scuttle and Flounder.

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The project marks another collaboration for director Rob Marshall and writer David Magee, who previously teamed up on 2018’s Mary Poppins Returns. Alan Menken, who co-scored the 1989 film, is overseeing the music alongside Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda. The new film does not yet have a release date.

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