LOS ANGELES – Following the first look of the Aladdin remake, Will Smith has chosen to step down from his role as Jafar after he was accused of using blueface.
In the preview, Smith can be seen as part of a C.G.I. rendering of the mystical blue Jafar, which many have regarded as intolerant towards minority genie groups.
A spokesperson for Disney said, “Mr. Smith has chosen to give up his role in order to be respectful and sensitive to the genie community.”
To make ammends, Disney’s next step will reportedly involve reopening auditions to fill the role with a mythical being that is “culturally appropriate.”
Smith released a statement, apologizing for the controversy: “My portrayal of Jafar was meant to honor a famous children’s cartoon. I was saddened when it was brought to my attention that it was being compared to painful images reminiscent of blueface. It was not my intention to poke fun at the tragedies genies have endured throughout history being trapped in lamps.”
The situation has sparked a backlash against other Disney live-action remakes using blueface, most notably, Danny Devito’s portrayal of Stitch in Lilo & Stitch.