Rachel Zegler’s “Snow White” Backlash Called Out For Double Standards

Rachel Zegler being cast as the titular character in Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves has been under scrutiny ever since it was announced.

The 22-year-old actor is of Colombian and Polish descent and initially faced racist backlash from people who argued that the princess should be played by a white actor.

closeup of rachel


Karwai Tang / WireImage

In response to the criticism, Rachel shared a series of childhood photos of herself dressed up as Disney princesses — including Snow White — and wrote: “I hope every child knows they can be a princess no matter what.”

extremely appreciative of the love i feel from those defending me online, but please don’t tag me in the nonsensical discourse about my casting.

i really, truly do not want to see it.

so i leave you w these photos! i hope every child knows they can be a princess no matter what pic.twitter.com/AU5PjJutK5

— rachel zegler (she/her/hers) (@rachelzegler) July 15, 2023

Twitter @rachelzegler / Via Twitter: @rachelzegler

But the negative reaction toward Rachel has only intensified in recent weeks after some of her comments about the movie, which is slated for release in March, resurfaced online.

rachel at disneyland pointing up to a snow white photo

In September, Rachel criticized the character of Prince Charming in the original film as she hinted that the adaptation will have more of a feminist undertone.

closeup of rachel


Mondadori Portfolio / Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Speaking at the D23 Expo, she told ExtraTV: “The original cartoon came out in 1937, and very evidently so. There’s a big focus on her love story with a guy who literally stalks her. Weird! Weird! So, we didn’t do that this time.”

the prince kissing snow white


Disney

Rachel added to Variety: “We absolutely wrote a Snow White that… she’s not going to be saved by the prince, and she’s not going to be dreaming about true love. She’s going to be dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be, and that her late father told her that she could be if she was fearless, fair, brave, and true.”

In addition to these comments, Rachel’s confession that she only watched Snow White once as a child — and that it had terrified her — also came to light recently.

snow white entering the dark woods


Disney

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly back in December, the star explained: “I was scared of the original version. I think I watched it once and never picked it up again. I’m being so serious.”

rachel mimicking a poster of snow white

“I watched it once, and then I went on the ride in Disney World, which was called Snow White’s Scary Adventures… Doesn’t sound like something a little kid would like,” Rachel went on. “I was terrified of it, never revisited Snow White again.”

the witch in snow white


Medianews Group / MediaNews Group via Getty Images

“I watched it for the first time in probably 16, 17 years when I was doing this film,” she concluded.

closeup of rachel


Dominik Bindl / Getty Images

As the discourse exploded on social media, one viral tweet read: “Rachel Zegler admitting she didn’t like Snow White growing up, saying she had only watched it ONCE before getting the role is so sad to me. Out of MILLIONS of women who loved the character, care about the story and yet this is who we get.”

Rachel Zegler admitting she didn’t like Snow White growing up, saying she had only watched it ONCE before getting the role is so sad to me. Out of MILLIONS of women who loved the character, care about the story and yet this is who we get. 🤡🤢 pic.twitter.com/IVKQN4FIHc

— Vara Dark (@Vara_Dark) August 10, 2023

Twitter @Vara_Dark / Via Twitter: @Vara_Dark

But others have come to Rachel’s defense, with one person writing: “miss rachel zegler should not be in such hot water over saying snow white wasn’t ahead of it’s time (true), it wasn’t a childhood favorite of hers (honest), and the remake is going to attempt more feminism (something i think ALL of the other live-action princesses have said??)”

miss rachel zegler should not be in such hot water over saying snow white wasn’t ahead of it’s time (true), it wasn’t a childhood favorite of hers (honest), and the remake is going to attempt more feminism (something i think ALL of the other live-action princesses have said??)

— julia (@juliaannecudney) August 13, 2023

Twitter @juliaannecudney / Via Twitter: @juliaannecudney

Others have drawn attention to some industry double standards, with a popular tweet pointing out that male actors have been celebrated for speaking out against their popular movie projects in the past.

rachel on stage talking about the upcoming movie


Image Group La / The Walt Disney Company

“harrison ford and robert pattinson actively hate star wars and twilight and yet it’s hehe funny and all rachel zegler did was say snow white scared her as kid,” it reads.

harrison ford and robert pattinson actively hate star wars and twilight and yet it’s hehe funny and all rachel zegler did was say snow white scared her as kid https://t.co/wG33WDX64b

— alex | comms open (@blueromanticss) August 14, 2023

Twitter @blueromanticss / Via Twitter: @blueromanticss

This tweet has racked up over 90,000 likes since it was posted on Monday, and has close to 8,000 retweets at the time of writing.

One person replied: “the fact that it’s always been treated as funny and quirky with those two but with her it’s a problem makes my blood boil.”

the fact that it’s always been treated as funny and quirky with those two but with her it’s a problem makes my blood boil

— mehr (@PRIVEKAEYA) August 14, 2023

Twitter @PRIVEKAEYA / Via Twitter: @PRIVEKAEYA

Another referenced other women who have come under similar scrutiny over the years as they wrote: “the way i’ve been saying this, millie bobbie brown, jenna ortega and countless women can’t be anything but grateful and humble but men can rip their franchises’ to shreds.”

the way i’ve been saying this, millie bobbie brown, jenna ortega and countless women can’t be anything but grateful and humble but men can rip their franchises’ to shreds https://t.co/1EZAHCnflN

— Idriss (@joiedevivrex2) August 14, 2023

Twitter @joiedevivrex2 / Via Twitter: @joiedevivrex2

While one more quipped: “I wonder what’s different about her and those two guys.”

I wonder what’s different about her and those two guys

— KF (@Kev_Kev_93) August 15, 2023

Twitter @Kev_Kev_93 / Via Twitter: @Kev_Kev_93

Landing the role of Han Solo in the 1970s kickstarted Harrison Ford’s huge career, but he has admitted that he has never been a fan of the Star Wars character and even wanted him to be killed off early in the franchise.

han solo pointing a gun


Sunset Boulevard / Corbis via Getty Images

Harrison previously told Starpulse that Han Solo was “relatively thin,” and added to Entertainment Weekly: “He’s got a good heart but I think he’s certainly a much less interesting character than Indiana Jones. He’s dumb as a stump. Han Solo was very good to me at a certain point in my career. But I’m done. I’m done with him.”

closeup of harrison


Pool / Getty Images

And Robert Pattinson has been even more vocal about his true feelings towards the Twilight movie franchise, which catapulted him to global superstardom in the 2000s. Robert played the role of Edward Cullen, and he repeatedly criticized both his character and the story during the promo tours for the films.

closeup of robert


Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

In fact, Robert even criticized the author of the books that the movies were based on, Stephenie Meyer, and claimed that the stories were actually her “sexual fantasy” that he was “uncomfortable” to read.

closeup of robert and stephanie at an event


Jeff Vespa / WireImage

He told E!: “When I read it, I was convinced Stephenie was convinced she was Bella and it was like it was a book that wasn’t supposed to be published. It was like reading her sexual fantasy, especially when she said it was based on a dream.”

edward and bella in bed


Summit Entertainment

“Like, some things about Edward are so specific, I was just convinced, like, ‘This woman is mad. She’s completely mad and she’s in love with her own fictional creation.’ And sometimes you would feel uncomfortable reading this thing,” Robert went on.

bella and edwards by a school bus


Summit Entertainment

While promoting the fourth film, Breaking Dawn, Robert was asked by Moviefone if he would be a fan of the franchise if he didn’t star in it, to which he admitted: “I think I am a judgmental and cynical person who would just mindlessly hate it without having seen anything; I just think I’m a bad person.”

closeup of robert during an interview

He also called the romance between his character and the protagonist, Bella, “a nightmare,” and that the overall story “doesn’t make sense.” He later told Vanity Fair that he “can’t really understand” why people are fans of the story, and even suggested that he’d lost his “dignity” while filming the movies.


Taylor Hill / Getty Images

Rachel has not explicitly addressed the recent backlash against her, but she did retweet a fan who’d shared past screenshots from Rachel’s Instagram Story that highlighted how much she enjoyed playing the character of Snow White.

Twitter @darkfandom_ / Via Twitter: @darkfandom_

She has also liked a tweet that reposted the Entertainment Weekly interview alongside the caption: “wtf the way people were crying about her online i thought she was proper ripping into the movie but this is it? this is what everyone is outraged over? because she found the movie scary as a child ?”

wtf 😭 the way people were crying about her online i thought she was proper ripping into the movie but this is it? this is what everyone is outraged over? because she found the movie scary as a child ? https://t.co/LslqB0nhB3

— nyssasorchid updates (@nyssasorchid) August 13, 2023

Twitter: @nyssasorchid

Snow White’s United States release is scheduled for March 22, 2024. The screenplay was written by Barbie’s Greta Gerwig, and Gal Gadot stars as the Evil Queen.

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