- (Photo: Disney Junior)
Amidst criticism that Disney's new Princess Sophia did not look Latina enough, the company said recently that the new character was not Hispanic at all.
The new character will be introduced into a TV animated movie entitled "Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess." Once widely believed to be Latina, blue-eyed and brunette Sofia outraged many for not appearing Latina enough.
In what some people are calling a "backpedal" move, Disney said this week that Princess Sofia does not represent just one "real world culture."
"What's important to know is that Sofia is a fairy-tale girl who lives in a fairy-tale world," senior vice president of original programming and general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide Nancy Kanter told NBC Latino.
"All our characters come from fantasy lands that may reflect elements of various cultures and ethnicities but none are meant to specifically represent those real world cultures," Kanter added.
Moreover, co-executive producer and writer on "Sofia the First" Craig Gerber said that the princess is "a mixed-heritage princess in a fairy-tale world."
"Her mother is originally from an enchanted kingdom inspired by Spain (Galdiz) and her birth father hailed from an enchanted kingdom inspired by Scandinavia," said Gerber.
Disney's new claims conflict with executive producer Jamie Mitchell's comment made on a recent press tour. She said Sofia "is Latina" while speaking to Entertainment Weekly, resulting in even more frustration over Disney's new princess.
"They seem to be backpedaling," Lisa Navarrete, spokesperson for the National Council of La Raza, told The Associated Press. "They've done such a good job in the past when they've introduced Native American, African-American and Asian princesses. They made a big deal out of it, and there was a lot on fanfare, but now they're sort of scrambling. It's unusual because Disney has been very good about Latino diversity."
Meanwhile on Twitter, many users expressed confusion and outrage over Princess Sofia's heritage.
"Disney Princess Sofia is not NOT Latina," asked Brittney. "Way to give in Disney. Also, as Latinos, do we want stereotyped or not?"
Enrique added, "Disney says that fair-skinned Sofia IS NOT Latina princess after backlash."
"Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess" will air on Disney Junior on Nov. 18.