On Wednesday, Disney hired Stephany Folsom to write The Princess of North Sudan, a fact-based tale about an American dad who staked claim to an unmarked territory in Africa so that his young daughter could become a real-life princess.
“I started trying to find land that didn’t belong to any nation or tribe or government, and discovered Bir Tawil, the only piece of land on earth that is unclaimed,” the father, Virginia farmer Jeremiah Heaton, told The Daily Mail this year. “It didn’t belong to Sudan or Egypt, as verified by their maps for the last 100 years, so it was the ideal place to go and create your own country.”
The project has been in development since November of last year, with Morgan Spurlock on as a producer. But after Folsom’s participation was announced – and the trade sites published the film’s logline again – Twitter users became irate over the conceit of The Princess of North Sudan, which was compared to “colonization” and “literal white entitlement.”
On Twitter, Folsom responded to those critics, writing that the negative first impressions were not what the movie would look like on screen.
— Stephany Folsom (@StephanyFolsom) May 14, 2015
In tweets that have since been deleted, Folsom wrote that she agreed with the complaints but “wouldn’t write that story.”
“There is no planting a flag in Sudan or making a white girl the princess of an African country. That’s gross,” she wrote in a deleted tweet. Folsom also noted how she had been to the Sudan and the people there “are amazing.”
For more on the project, head to THR.
This post has been updated to acknowledge that some of Folsom’s tweets have been deleted.