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UPDATE: Disney states that the new look Merida character did not appear on company websites. Disney said in a statement to NBCNews.com that “we routinely use different art styles with our characters and this rendition of Merida in her party dress was a special one-time effort to commemorate her coronation.”
After facing criticism for its redesign of Brave‘s Merida — including by Brenda Chapman, the former director of the film — Disney has apparently pulled the new look of the character from its princess website.
“Numerous supporters have written to us to share the news that the new makeover version of Merida is no longer appearing on Disney.com,” wrote Carolyn Danckaert, co-founder of the website A Mighty Girl, who launched the Change.org petition calling for Disney to “say no to the Merida makeover.” The petition included a letter to Disney chairman Robert Iger.
Disney has seen a wave of protests online about the newly redesigned princess. In the movie, the character is seen wielding a bow and arrow, while the new look Merida (see design here) was given what one Jezebel writer deemed “a pretty pretty princess makeover” in appearance and dress.
Chapman, the director of the Disney/Pixar film before being replaced by Mark Andrews during filming, agreed with the protests.
“Disney marketing and the powers that be that allow them to do such things should be ashamed of themselves,” said Chapman to her local paper, the Marin Independent Journal. “When little girls say they like it because it’s more sparkly, that’s all fine and good but, subconsciously, they are soaking in the sexy ‘come hither’ look and the skinny aspect of the new version. It’s horrible!”
The new Merida character was unveiled as the 11th official princess at Disney World last weekend.
The Change.org Merida petition currently lists over 200,000 individuals who have signed the letter to Iger.
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Melvin Van Peebles