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Halle Bailey as Ariel

Photo: Disney / dpa

There were angry protests against the live-action adaptation of the popular Disney classic »The Little Mermaid« even before the premiere. The casting of Ariel with the young African-American Halle Bailey has been the subject of much racist commentary. At the end of May, »Ariel« was released in cinemas – since then, the insults have continued, including on the film rating portal IMDb.

The Internet Movie Database observed an "unusual voting activity", can now be read in the portal. IMDb is the largest movie database in the world, a kind of Wikipedia for movies. It was created in the nineties as a hobby project by cinema nerds and has since become an integral part of the Internet. Users can assign a score of between one and ten stars for films.

The action remake of "The Little Mermaid" has now become the subject of a "review bombardment," wrote the British "Guardian". In the process, masses of negative reactions were posted by automated programs in order to lower the average rating score. These programs, called bots, can independently create a large number of entries in a very short time.

"The Little Mermaid" has been rated 43,000 times on IMDb since the film's release, with an average rating of seven to ten stars. This is a normal result for IMDb, where the ratings are somewhat more positive than on other sites such as »Metacritic«, where reviews from professional critics are incorporated. However, the film alone received 39 percent one-star ratings – an extremely high proportion and worse than the average critics' ratings.

IMDb therefore corrected the overall ratings. "In order to ensure the reliability of our rating system, an alternative weighting calculation was used," reads the entry of "The Little Mermaid". Users do not find out exactly what the correction looks like. "We accept all votes cast by users," IMDb explains, "but not all votes have the same impact on the final rating."