Disney Backpedal? Mouse House Now Says New Princess Sofia Is Not Latina After Controversy Erupts

Despite an apparent confirmation to the contrary, the studio insists its little royal reflects "various cultures and ethnicities"

By Peter Gicas Oct 22, 2012 7:51 PMTags
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First came the revelation that Disney's newest princess in the upcoming Disney Channel and Disney Junior TV feature, Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess, is Latina.

That was then followed by frustration that the young lady didn't look Latina enough.

Now, it seems as if the situation might be a little more royally complicated, as the Mouse House is suggesting this princess isn't actually Latina at all.

"What's important to know is that Sofia is a fairy-tale girl who lives in a fairy-tale world," said Nancy Kanter, senior vice president of original programming and general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide, per 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."

Craig Gerber, a coexecutive producer and writer on the feature, added that as far as Sofia's ethnicity is concerned, she 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."

Such statements, though, come on the heels of the more straightforward quote that Entertainment Weekly recently attributed to Sofia the First executive producer Jamie Mitchell: "She is Latina."

Prior to these most recent statements downplaying her ethnicity, Alex Nogales, President and CEO for the National Hispanic Media Coalition, had expressed concern about how Disney was marketing the show.

"We consume a hell of a lot of television, and I don't understand the reluctance of the producers to not be upfront and say, 'This person is Latina,'" he told E! Online for our Ask Anything column last Friday.

Well, it looks like we now know why.