Disney is pulling a Halloween costume from its website and stores after accusations of racism.
The costume, which is based on a character from the upcoming movie “Moana,” is a body suit with Polynesian tattoos. The character, Maui, is inspired by a Polynesian demigod.
In “Moana,” due out in November, the titular character, played by Auli’i Cravalho — a native Hawaiian — follows a teen who meets the muscled Maui, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, on a journey through the Pacific.
CNN reports that Disney has issued an apology for the costume.
“The team behind Moana has taken great care to respect the cultures of the Pacific Islands that inspired the film, and we regret that the Maui costume has offended some,” the company said in a statement.
I really wish I could believe that last sentence. Once again though, when it comes to an Indigenous people, the thinking is less than stellar. If there was so much care to respect the cultures, then why wasn’t there at least a discussion about the deep significance of the cultural tattoos prior to a costume being manufactured? Where was the discussion of slipping on a cultural skin as a plaything, to be discarded at will? Indigenous people are not costumes. I’ll just go with the assumption that this was basic Disney, engaging the marketing machine without a single thought in that collective, not so respectful head. I’d really love it if Disney would just fucking stop trying to constantly make more money on the backs of Indigenous people. Try coming up with your own original stuff for once, maybe? At least until you figure out how to deal with Indigenous peoples and cultures in an appropriate manner.
Why yes, I do know there were mixed reactions to the film, I posted about it.