Now, the Broadway musical-turned-Hollywood live-action flick is being accused of whitewashing its lead actress, Kenyan-born black ballerina Francesca Hayward.
The 27-year-old plays a cat named Victoria and has been given white fur. Fans, who have watched the trailer, claim that the character’s fur not matching her actual skin tone is offensive.
“You know what the most impressive thing about the Cats trailer is? They damn cats. They covered in fur. But y’all still found a way to whitewash somebody,” wrote a fan.
“Just don’t whitewash people. Even if they’re playing cats,” wrote another.
A user on Twitter wrote: “So how come you can clearly see this is taylor swift/ the entire bottom half of her face is visible, but you wouldn’t know the black lead was black unless you knew her already.”
“she’s BLACK?!” responded another.
“Cats” is Hayward’s breakout movie role. She was previously was the principal ballerina at the British Royal Ballet.
Fans also didn’t react well to the bizarre part-human, part-CGI bodies in general. Director Tom Hopper previously said he developed “digital fur technology” to create “the most perfect covering of fur” but social media isn’t convinced.
The movie also features Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Judy Dench and Idris Elba and will hit theaters in December.