Walt Disney is defending its newest character, Princess Sofia, who will star in the TV movie "Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess" airing Nov. 18 on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior.
Hispanic advocacy groups have questioned whether the white blue-eyed princess even looks Hispanic and if Disney is trying to water down her ethnicity, reports the Associated Press.
Lisa Navarrete, spokeswoman for the National Council of La Raza, told the Associated Press: "They seem to be backpedaling. They've done such a good job in the past when they've introduced Native American, African-American and Asian princesses. They made a big deal out of it, and there was a lot of fanfare, but now they're sort of scrambling. It's unusual because Disney has been very good about Latino diversity."
However, Craig Gerber, co-executive producer of 'Sofia the First,' said in a Facebook post on Friday that Sofia is "a mixed-heritage princess in a fairytale world."
Gerber said her mother and father come from kingdoms inspired by Spain and Scandinavia, and that Sofia was born and raised in Enchancia, a "make-believe 'melting pot' kingdom."
Gerber said: "Sofia considers herself a normal Enchancian girl like any other. Her mixed heritage and blended family are a reflection of what many children today experience."
Marcela Davison Aviles, president of the Mexican Heritage Corporation, said that calling Sofia a Hispanic princess is "not an accurate use of the term as many in our community understand its meaning."
"I'll bet folks at the company are using this as a teachable moment to improve on that effort. I'm looking forward to meeting Sofia and to Disney's future efforts to illuminate our diverse melting pot, including the varied colors which thread our tapestry of Latino identity."