Jason “Wee Man” Acuña, known for his appearances in the ‘Jackass’ franchise, has joined other actors with dwarfism in expressing their concerns over Hollywood’s recent trend of sidelining roles for individuals of small stature under the guise of “wokeness.” The controversy arose when Disney faced backlash for its live-action remake of ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ last year.
Renowned actor Peter Dinklage, also a person with dwarfism, voiced his disapproval of the traditional portrayal of dwarf characters in the beloved fairy tale. Responding to his criticism, Disney announced intentions to consult with the dwarfism community and reevaluate how to proceed with the remake.
However, Disney’s recent announcement regarding the film revealed that all dwarf characters, with the exception of one, had been eliminated. These roles were instead given to actors of average height, but varying ethnicities and genders, leaving only a single dwarf actor in the cast. This decision triggered fresh condemnation from numerous actors with dwarfism, who felt that their opportunities were being stolen and handed to non-dwarf performers.
In a TMZ interview, Wee Man criticized the upcoming ‘Snow White’ film, featuring Rachel Zegler as Snow White, and argued that roles such as the seven dwarfs should be played by actors with dwarfism. He questioned the choice to hire actors of average height instead, urging Disney to reconsider their casting decisions.
This debate extends beyond ‘Snow White,’ as the upcoming Warner Bros. film ‘Wonka’ also faced backlash for replacing dwarf actors with digitally altered images of Hugh Grant, who is portraying one of the Oompa-Loompa characters.
British actor George Coppen expressed concerns that individuals of small stature are being marginalized in the film industry due to studios’ apprehension over misrepresentation or mishandling of such characters in their pursuit of inclusivity.
In summary, actors like Wee Man are speaking out against the exclusion of individuals with dwarfism from roles that have historically been portrayed by actors who share their stature. They urge Hollywood to prioritize authenticity and diversity, considering the profound impact casting decisions have on underrepresented communities.