CANCEL "The Princess of North Sudan" Film
This petition had 743 supporters
In 2014, a farmer from Virginia named "King" Jeremiah Heaton tried to claim the land of Bir Tawil (located in Africa between Egypt and Sudan) as his own, so he could make his daughter a "real princess". He named it the "Kingdom of North Sudan", and is trying to get the United Nations to recognize it as a country. As of May 2015, he is also asking the public for $2 billion to build The Ark, a laboratory where prominent scientists would research how to grow crops with limited water (a terribly novel idea). So far, approximately $4000 has been raised.
On November 6, 2014, it was revealed that Walt Disney Studios and Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) were producing a film called "The Kingdom of South Sudan", billed as "an unique princess tale inspired by the true account of an American man claiming a territory in Africa and proclaiming himself and his family its royal rulers." On May 13, 2015, Stephany Folsom was confirmed to be the screenwriter.
Why should you care?
Far from being an innocent and kid-friendly princess story, "The Princess of South Sudan" shows remarkably little sensitivity or respect toward—first and foremost—the Sudanese and Egyptian "subjects" of "King Jeremiah". In fact, both Sudan and Egypt were colonized by the British until 1956.
Also, it's noteworthy that Disney has never actually released a movie about an African princess before. As someone who loved Disney Princess movies as a young girl, I find it troubling that the first African Princess movie contains such disturbing imperialist undertones, hidden under a veneer of romance and adventure.
"Disney chose a white girl from a former slave state who stakes out land on African soil to be its next princess. The colonially reminiscent movie plot did not generate overwhelming sympathy from the Internet writ large, prompting tense interactions between the screenwriter and a slew of cultural diversity advocates on Twitter."
"Unshockingly, the idea of white people planting flags in African soil and saying, “Yeah, this is ours now” does not go ever fabulously with everybody. Gawker somewhat gently referred to his tale as “equal parts cringeworthy and baffling,” and The Blaze called it “extreme.” But the Dallas Morning News, clearly impressed, calls Heaton a “Father of the Year nominee.” Doesn’t every little girl dream of 800 square miles of disputed border lands in the desert that her dad says are her very own? Whatever happened to the old days, when a father who wanted to make his daughter’s dream of becoming a princess would simply marry her off to a local landowner? Simpler times."
Here's some more criticism of the project.
What can we do?
Despite the backlash, there hasn't yet been an official response, or even an acknowledgment, from Disney (although Stephany Folsom has responded to tweets). This is the goal of the petition. If you want Disney to reconsider this film, please sign and share!
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Anna Chen needs your help with “Walt Disney Studios: To Disney: CANCEL "The Princess of North Sudan" Film”. Join Anna and 742 supporters today.