Disney pulls Moana costume criticized for cultural misappropriation

Herman Weaver
October 5, 2016

The full-body, zip-up costume, linked to the upcoming animated feature Moana, featured brown skin with traditional Pacific tattoos, a grass skirt and bone necklace.

The Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson movie, scheduled for release November 23, follows the exploits of plucky teen Moana (voiced by Auli'i Cravalho) as she goes on a quest to save her people, along with the help of Maui (voiced by Johnson), a fallen Polynesian demigod.

Even for Pacific people who don't believe in Maui, replicating a Polynesian tattoo and offering it to children for a price is belittling and trivializing an intimate aspect of Pacific people and culture. Disney said Wednesday it would no longer sell the boy's costume for a Polynesian character that some Pacific Islanders have compared to blackface.

Disney says it is pulling a costume of the character Maui from its website and stores after public outcry. Nearly as quickly, Disney discontinued the controversial costume in response to public outcry. "So, for Disney to make the costume in brown skin further motivates the idea of race being a performance, or something that we get to choose".

Activists said it mocks the culture by creating stereotypes. "Moana" is basically an upcoming 2016, 3D animated comedy musical fantasy filled with thrilling adventure.

Members of the Polynesian community, including Maori New Zealanders, have condemned the costumes as cultural appropriation.

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The Disney film tells the story of Moana (voiced by Auli'i Cravalho), a young girl who wants to prove to her people that she can be a master wayfinder.

This is not the first time "Moana" has been called out for fumbling its portrayal of Polynesian culture.

A week ago, Disney announced the new kid's costume list of products belonging to the Moana franchise and a lot of controversies emerged over the subject. "Plus, padded arms and legs for mighty stature!"

Others have taken to Twitter to reassure Disney that not all Pacific Islanders find the costume offensive.

Disney is yet to comment on the matter.

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