Aladdin actor Mena Massoud deactivated his Twitter account after facing backlash for a tweet about Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of the animated The Little Mermaid.
Massoud played the title role in Disney’s 2019 live-action version of Aladdin, alongside Will Smith.
Now the Egyptian-Canadian performer is facing controversy for taking a swipe at The Little Mermaid in response to a recent tweet from The Hollywood Handle, saying the new film is projected to post similar opening weekend numbers at the box office as Aladdin, which ultimately earned $1.05 billion worldwide
“The Little Mermaid is tracking to earn $115M on its domestic box office opening weekend. In comparison, Aladdin earned $112M on its opening,” read the tweet about the two Disney films.
‘THE LITTLE MERMAID’ is tracking to earn $115M on its domestic box office opening weekend.
In comparison, ‘ALADDIN’ earned $112M on its opening. pic.twitter.com/vpIoYcYcQ2
— The Hollywood Handle (@hollywoodhandle) May 12, 2023
Massoud replied to the post by saying he doubts The Little Mermaid will have the staying power of Aladdin, yet the new movie will probably get a sequel.
“Our film was unique in that audiences went to watch it multiple times,” Massoud wrote. “It’s the only way we reached the billion dollar mark with our opening. My guess is TLM doesn’t cross the billion dollar mark, but will undoubtedly get a sequel.”
The tweet has since been deleted, but TMZ captured a screengrab of the post, which was viewed more than 330,000 times.
Some social media users accused Massoud of anti-Blackness because Halle Bailey, who plays Ariel in The Little Mermaid, is African American.
“LMAO @MenaMassoud Aladdin deleted his account. He couldn’t take the heat from the antiblack mess he was trying to start on here,” one person tweeted.
“First off who the hell is Mena Massoud?? We all know Will Smith was the main reason we all went to see Aladdin. And I’ll stand 10 toes down for TLM. This is exactly why we need to pack every theater up on May 26th. Bring your kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids. The entire Family!” another person tweeted.
“Aladdin made a billion, but what has it done for Mena Massoud’s career? Is he a household name or ‘just the guy who played Aladdin? The nerve of this man,” someone else tweeted.
“This gives jobless and loser behavior because this came out of no where like wow,” someone else wrote.
Following its opening on May 22, 2019, Aladdin earned $355.5 million in North America and $698.7 million abroad.
A sequel to the film had been in the works but Massoud said in a March 15, 2023, tweet captured, by Movie Web that a follow-up film is “very unlikely at this point.”
While many fans are excited about the The Little Mermaid, others voiced anger on social media when Halle Bailey was cast as the lead. As previously reported, some Twitter users accused Disney of “ruining” the film by casting a woman of color as the fictional redhead.
Despite the naysayers, the film is on track to do big business at the box office.
The Little Mermaid is directed by Rob Marshall and also stars Jonah Hauer-King, Melissa McCarthy, and Javier Bardem.
The film opens nationwide on May 26.