In a recent interview with The Guardian, Melissa McCarthy, renowned for her upcoming role as the iconic sea witch Ursula in Disney’s live adaptation of The Little Mermaid, sheds light on the growing conservative opposition faced by drag performers in the United States. McCarthy, known for her pro-LGBTQ+ stance, criticizes the surge of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and discriminatory legislation, specifically targeting drag performers and gender-affirming healthcare across several states.
Reflecting on the wave of abuse she received on social media, McCarthy recalls the backlash she faced after posting an Instagram collage featuring beloved films like Mrs. Doubtfire and Some Like It Hot alongside the message, “You’ve been entertained by drag your whole life. Don’t pretend it’s a problem now.” Labeling the conservative backlash as “absolute lunacy,” McCarthy highlights the hypocrisy of lawmakers who prioritize attacking drag performers while remaining silent on more pressing issues.
McCarthy draws attention to the incongruity of dedicating energy and resources to targeting the drag community amid a plethora of global crises. She humorously invites those with grievances against drag to experience the joy of a drag brunch firsthand, emphasizing its delightful nature. Her unwavering support for the LGBTQ+ community echoes her earlier stand-up performances as the drag queen Miss Y.
The character of Ursula, whom McCarthy portrays in the upcoming film, holds a significant place in drag culture, being inspired by the renowned drag superstar Divine. Both McCarthy and director Rob Marshall affirm that the portrayal of Ursula pays homage to drag queens, embodying the essence of the drag art form. Marshall commends McCarthy’s exceptional performance, describing it as a harmonious blend of depth, emotion, and vibrant colors.
As the highly anticipated release of The Little Mermaid approaches, Melissa McCarthy’s vocal advocacy for LGBTQ+ inclusion serves as a reminder of the enduring impact and influence of drag performers in society. With the film set to hit theaters on Friday, May 26, audiences await a visually stunning and empowering tribute to drag culture, helmed by McCarthy’s remarkable portrayal of the nefarious sea witch.