Disney Primos Racism Controversy depicting the title artwork for the show.

Disney's "Primos" Racism Controversy

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Updated Jun 20, 2023 at 01:24PM EDT by Zach.

Added Jun 16, 2023 at 11:09AM EDT by Phillip Hamilton.

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Related Explainer: Why Is Disney Channel's New Show 'Primos' Coming Under Fire? The 'Oye Primos' Racism Controversy Explained


Disney's "Primos" Racism Controversy refers to online backlash against the Disney Channel's animated series Primos following the release of its theme song in June 2023. The theme song was considered racist by some for several factors, including the names of some of the characters, the use of the grammatically incorrect phrase "oye primos" (hey cousins), the town's name being Terremoto (earthquake) and the team behind the show seemingly being predominantly white. The backlash also inspired memes about the show being perceived as racist.


On November 3rd, 2021, Deadline[1] reported that Disney had greenlit the animated series Primos from creator and executive producer Natasha Kline. The series is reportedly "based on Kline’s childhood experiences with her extended multicultural Mexican American family." The show is described as follows:

Each half-hour episode of Primos, produced by Disney Television Animation, will be comprised of two 11-minute stories featuring Tater, an eccentric 10-year-old girl with big dreams and, unbeknownst to her, a certain “it factor” that makes her exceptional. When her 12 cousins (“primos” in Spanish) move in for the summer, they help her discover just what it is. Tater’s aspirations and larger-than-life imagination are seen via entries in her super-secret diary, which turn her deepest thoughts into grandiose animation sequences.

On June 13th, 2023, the Disney Channel YouTube[2] page released the theme song for Primos, garnering over 208,000 views in three days (shown below). The theme gained an overwhelmingly negative like-to-dislike ratio in that time, with around 1,900 likes and 26,000 dislikes in the same span of time.


Myrna Velasco's Response

On June 14th, 2023, Twitter[10] user @JuanAgu21791447 posted an Instagram story by Myrna Velasco, the voice actor for Primos' protagonist Taters, in which she responds to the backlash, defending herself and the show (shown below). The video subsequently received over 17.3 million views in six days.

"The Spanish language is not a Latin-American language. It's a language the Spanish conquistadors forced upon Latin-American people. The only reason we're Latin people and not Native American people is because of that distinction. So be mad at me all you want for misspelling words in Spanish, be mad at me all you want for mispronouncing words in Spanish, that doesn't take away from the fact that I am a Mexican-American, Native-American woman. We're trying to make a good show for kids. For kids that feel left out, for kids that are different, for kids who don't have a full grasp on any language no matter where they live. And if you're gonna be mad at that, I don't know, be mad then."

On June 15th, Twitter[12] user @HugoEdu19107183 then posted a comment by Velasco directly responding to claims that "oye primos" is incorrect, writing that "language is fluid and transitory depending on where you live and who you learned it from" (shown below). The post gained over 3,000 likes in five days.

Natasha Kline's Response

On June 18th, 2023, Natasha Kline, the creator of Primos, also responded to the backlash in a post to her Instagram[11] account, @osoamelie (shown below, click to expand). The response was in the form of a webcomic addressing the hate messages she's received, the "Mexico filter" and more, ultimately defending the show because it tells "her story."

In one panel she writes, "I'm proud of the place I'm representing. I'm proud of the people in my life who are referenced in this project. I'm proud and excited to represent something that maybe hasn't been seen in animation yet." The post gained over 4,800 likes in two days.

Wow. What a The... uh... uh... conversation happENING AROUnd Primos is something I could neveR have predicted. a week The negativity has Been... well, to Be Honest, pretty traumatizing. It made me douBT myself, my project, my intentions... Ouch... You Should commit suicide I WANT q TO KILL YOU If I Ever Meet You... YOU DON'T COUNT WAREN'T ENOUGH THE RIGHT This is FOR YOU IF I stay HeRe, MAYBE THEY'LL Never Find me... 00₂ GOD, I CAN'T CARRY ANYMORE!! THESE ARE MESSAGES Me and Members OF MY CREW HAVE HeARd OUR WHOLE LIVES. But when I look out at the Community I Live in, that I was Raised in, here in LOS ANGELES... I'm Reminded of The Sunset makes everything Look Yellow Right Now... my I'm proud of the place I'm Representing. I'm proud of the people in my life who are Referenced in this project. I'm proud and excited to Represent Something that may be hasn't been seen animation yet. in And FOR ALL Those who question me... much So truth. I send you love. MALATE we YOU want you to know, I'm I holding this story in my heaRt so closely. It is Safe with and it me, means the world that Disney is allowing me to tell it. The story of PRimos is important to me. Because it's my story. Love from Natasha Kline

Online Reactions

The theme received backlash on Twitter for its perceived racist depictions of Latinos and Latino culture. On the day the theme was released, June 13th, 2023, Twitter[3] user @DisneyAPromos reposted it, garnering over 8,000 likes in three days.

That same day, Twitter[4] user @TheDecapitron commented with a meme under the thread that gained over 36,000 likes in three days (shown below, left). On June 14th, Twitter[5] user @RPerrocalentero posted a meme depicting an American as a wizard brewing a potion captioned "the most racist thing you've ever seen," garnering over 15,100 likes in two days (shown below, right).

The Decapitron @TheDecapitron basically this Hola amigxs, I'm Sergio. I love Fiestas and eat Tacos! MAYO 5 USA MEXICO MORE (MEXICO, Mike J. Johnson Goldman creator OMG!! Latinx representation! 4:25 PM - Jun 13, 2023 1.2m Views El güero balazos me dicen Antoniow González Coronado creator ... CULTURAL APPROPRIATION!!! cancel this!!!! From OPeriod @RPerrocalentero I am not one to get into the subject of animation, my specialty is politics, but being a naturalized American, I am going to make an opinion on this exception. Translate Tweet Un Estadounidense La serie mas Yacista y estereotipica jamas hecha 6:32 PM - Jun 14, 2023-383.2K Views

Also on June 14th, 2023, Twitter[6] user @sugar_cap posted a list of problems they had with the trailer, including use of the so-called Mexican filter, the grammatically incorrect use of the phrase "oye primos" for "hey cousins," the fact that some of the cousins are named "Nacho," "Nachito" and "Gordita," the latter meaning "fat" and the town being called "Terremoto," meaning "earthquake," garnering over 4,400 likes in two days (shown below).

Twitter[9] user @s_naavs wrote, "They basically use a google translate for the chorus, nobody says 'oye primos', 'oye' is singular for 'hear' and 'oigan' is plural."

LMK SPOILERS SugarCap @sugar_cap Let's see: Breaking Bad Mexico filter Terremoto is Earthquake Oye is singular while Primos is plural There are literally two cousins named Nacho and Nachito which is the same thing but Nachito is Little Nacho Gordita means fatty or chubby And cuquita means Little Cockroach ...

Later that day, Twitter[7] user @dayokooshino posted a photo of some of the members of the team behind the show, appearing to consist predominantly of white people (shown below, left). On June 15th, Twitter[8] user @fandeXenoblade posted a Cars meme in which cars labeled with the Mexican flag call the show horrible and Lightning McQueen, labeled as Disney, responds, "matches the country," garnering over 25,000 likes in a day (shown below, left).

Daoko @dayokooshino Disney oye primos crew All white gringos holy fuuuuucki g s--- france-tv osoamelie 2 □ 995 likes osoamelie The #Disney Primos main title dropped at Annecy today, and I'm so proud of the world this team has built. Thank you so much, crew! And... more 7:34 PM - Jun 14, 2023 - 28.6K Views Mister Springe ¡Está horrible! DISNEY Disney Primos Combina con el país

Various Reactions

Ben Sadfleck @BenSadfleck Oh my god if you write "hey cousins" in google translate you get Oye primos. There is no way they really used that and never bothered to consult to someone who actually speaks spanish Desc Loq @DescLoq. Jun 14 ¡OYE! 2:34 PM - Jun 15, 2023 1.2M Views ¡PRIMOS! val ★5 @valxstark ... Those who did that "Hey cousins" thing will know what this means??? or will they have added it because yes? Translate Tweet 6:39 PM - Jun 15, 2023-54.5K Views Redeye Rayan @OnlyRayan This is what the people involved in Oye Primos actually think about LATAM. They only see our culture as a means to an end, something else to milk. This is the kind of people Disney hire. myrnzilla ... □ 68 likes myrnzilla #gratitudechallenge Day 11: to come from them is my greatest talent. I've been fortunate enough to be working my dream jobs, but if they had stayed put in their sh*thole country I would not have been alive to have such marvelous dream jobs. #immigrantsmakeamericagreat 183 weeks ago 8:40 PM - Jun 15, 2023 - 51.2K Views Anna @pencilforge Damn, primos, you live like this? 1995 Phill bocom on 001 Noooo esto es apropiacion cultural y estereotipica es ofensivo Andale arriba yepa yepa Esto es para ustedes amigos latinoamericanos, una representacion digna para ustedes *piensa que latinoamerica es solo mexico Disney Primos jaja pinche speedy que bien me cae el cabron TE Que perra mmd: es eso?

Search Interest

External References

[1] Deadline – Disney Greenlights Animated Family Comedy ‘Primos’ From Natasha Kline

[2] YouTube – Disney Channel

[3] Twitter – DisneyAPromos

[4] Twitter – TheDecapitron

[5] Twitter – RPerrocalentero

[6] Twitter – sugar_cap

[7] Twitter – dayokooshino

[8] Twitter – fandeXenoblade

[9] Twitter – s_naavs

[10] Twitter – JuanAgu21791447

[11] Instagram – osoamelie

[12] Twitter – HugoEdu19107183

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