Disney bosses have spoken out to defend their new princess Sofia, voiced by Modern Family actress Ariel Winter, following complaints from Hispanic advocacy groups.
The fair-skinned, blue-eyed young beauty is set to make her Disney debut in upcoming Tv movie Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess, but newly-released images of the animated star have angered fans, who believe she does not accurately represent the Hispanic community - even though she was originally billed as the first "Latina."
President of the National Hispanic Media Coalition Alex Nogales says, "We need more heroes right now that are very identifiable... This is not a time to pussyfoot around. If you're going to promote this to the public, and Latinos in particular, do us a favour and make it a real Latina. Are they afraid that some people are not going to accept this princess because she is Latina? The more I think about it, the more bothered I get."
However, executive Nancy Kanter insists Walt Disney Co. chiefs intentionally tried to avoid buying into the stereotypes of Latin women by presenting a young girl with mixed roots in order to attract a wider audience.
In a post on Facebook.com, she writes, "What's important to know is that Sofia is a fairytale girl who lives in a fairytale world. 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. The writers have wisely chosen to write stories that include elements that will be familiar and relatable to kids from many different backgrounds, including Spain and Latin America."