As Brie Larson fends off keyboard warriors during this week’s release of Captain Marvel, Disney has another controversy on its hands with the upcoming live-action remake of Aladdin, set to hit theaters in May.
Since its inception, Aladdin has faced backlash from social activists for its updated Genie character, played by Will Smith.
But this time, the criticism comes from an unexpected source: a longtime television actor.
When he’s not wolfing down Chips Ahoy on Sesame Street, Cookie Monster spends his spare time advocating for numerous social causes.
One of those issues being racism in the motion picture industry.
When the latest teaser for the upcoming film hit social media recently, the furry creature took issue with the fact that Smith isn’t blue enough to accurately perform the role.
“Last time me check, Will Smith black,” Cookie Monster explained. “He not blue at all.”
“Me tired of people not blue pretending to be blue like me,” he continued. “Will Smith good in After Earth, but he no blue in that movie. He needs to stay in lane.”
Cookie Monster cited numerous blue actors and actresses that Disney could have offered to role to instead of Smith.
“Papa Smurf blue, he make good genie. Or Blue Man Group, they make good genie and they no have to learn music.”
The furry creature continued, even going so far as to call for a boycott.
“I no spend 40 years on TV being blue to be mocked and caricatured for who I am. I call on fellow blue people to make stand and no go see Aladdin.”
So far he has reached out to Goo, best remembered for her stint in the Gumby show, and Sam the Eagle of Muppet fame, in an effort to raise awareness.
Sam, however, has not been as enthusiastic regarding the issue.
“There is far more to worry about than a blue movie character being portrayed by a handsome African American man,” he responded. “In America, you can do anything and be anything. Red, white, blue, it is the American Way.”
Smith could not be reached for comment, but Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, mentioned that he would reach out to Cookie Monster in an effort to compromise on the issue.
“Will Smith is one of the most gracious, open-minded actors in the industry,” Iger said. “We have no doubt that he would be willing to sit down and split a box of Thin Mints with Mr. Monster and talk this over.”
Iger stressed that Smith’s portrayal of the Genie is in no way mocking or demeaning towards blue people.
“Not at all, in fact, I think that Smith’s acting will prove to be quite empowering for all those blue people out there.”
Aladdin is set to be released on May 24.