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Indian-American actress Avantika Vandanapu has been subjected to racist backlash after it was rumoured that she would star as Rapunzel in an alleged live-action adaptation of the Disney animated film `Tangled`. Avantika has starred in the 2024 film Mean Girls, and was recently seen in the Amazon Prime Video series Big Girls Don`t Cry.

Disney is yet to confirm a live-action Rapunzel movie, but fan accounts on social media have claimed that the Indian-American actress is being considered for the role. A now-deleted social media post claimed the actress was “screen testing” with Milo Manheim, according to an image of the post shared by BuzzFeed News.

Many fans of Tangled believed the post and while some supported the idea of casting Avantika, others responded with racist comments on TikTok and Instagram, saying an Indian woman with long black hair isn’t fit to play the role. 

The post sparked negative reactions from some fans, who took to the comments section on Avantika’s Instagram profile to share their dissatisfaction with the Indian American actor`s rumored casting as Rapunzel, who appears as a light-skinned, blonde woman in Tangled.

“Rapunzel should be played by a blonde white girl,” one TikToker wrote in a post, according to NBC News. “Rapunzel is a GERMAN folk story. Indians are not and never will be German,” another said. Avantika`s Instagram was also flooded with hate comments, with some people calling her “disgusting” and saying, “don’t ruin tangled.” 

“You’re going to be the worst rapunzel in history,” one comment said.

Some suggested that casting an Indian woman as Rapunzel would be like casting white women in the roles of non-white Disney princesses like `Mulan` and Tiana from `Princess and the Frog`. 

“It genuinely hurts to see how easily people are willing to spit nasty words at her. If she`s cast as Rapunzel, she`s my Rapunzel🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️ its not the end of the world, it`s a movie. An iconic movie, yes, but still a movie. From Disney. For children,” read a kinder comment on Avantika`s Instagram.

Released in November 2010, Tangled reimagined the classic fairytale character Rapunzel in a musical adventure-comedy starring Mandy Moore as Rapunzel alongside Zachary Levi and Donna Murphy.

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