Disney may be breaking new ground with its upcoming film “Moana,” featuring its first Polynesian princess, but it’s also currently under fire for selling a questionable Halloween costume of one of the movie’s characters.
Last weekend, a costume of Polynesian god Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson in the film, consisting of a brown bodysuit with tattoos, became available for sale at the Disney Store and online.
“Your little one will set off on adventures in this Maui costume featuring the demigod’s signature tattoos, rope necklace, and island-style skirt,” reads the description. “Plus, padded arms and legs for mighty stature!”
Many took to social media to say the costume was in poor taste; some even accused Disney of caricaturing Polynesian culture and appropriating Hawaiian culture, even calling it an example of brownface. The movie was the subject of controversy earlier this year as well for its depiction of Maui as what some considered overweight.
— TheBlackSheep.com (@74MasterBlaster) September 18, 2016
cosplaying things like moana is one thing – cosplay shouldn't be limited to what ur race is. but literally wearing a brown skin costume? no
— hannah (@donnatroying) September 19, 2016
Disney, I love you and I love what i'm seeing of Moana so far but you screwed up with that Maui Costume.
— • Lita (@LitaNZ) September 19, 2016
— Robyn Lucas (@robyn_lucas) September 18, 2016
The costume, which also includes “screen art skirt with leaf accents” and “photorealistic teeth art appliqués,” has also been criticized for appropriating sacred Hawaiian and Oceanic traditions.
“We are not a costume,” says one twitter user. “Say no to this #Moana.”
Others have defended the costume, refuting claims of appropriation, and saying the costume represents “a character, not a culture.”
Maui is a symbol of Polynesian mythology and not an original Disney character. Disney didn’t respond to requests for comment.