Disney is under fire after a Halloween costume of one of the film’s Polynesian characters in the upcoming movie “Moana” appeared online and in stores.
A child’s costume for the Polynesian demi-god Maui – voiced by Dwayne Johnson in the film – features a brown-skinned bodysuit with traditional tribal tattoos. “Your little one will set off on adventures in this Maui costume featuring the demigod’s signature tattoos, rope necklace and island-style skirt,” the costume’s description reads. “Plus, padded arms and legs for mighty stature!” The costume also boasts “photorealistic teeth art appliques” and a screen-art skirt with leaf accents.
While Disney created the character design emulated in the Halloween costume, Maui is not an original Disney creation. A popular demi-god, Maui is a mythological deity and culture hero in Hawaiian culture.
Consumers were quick to take to social media to express their outrage for the costume which many deemed to be in poor taste, appropriating and caricaturing Polynesian and Hawaiian culture and sacred Oceanic traditions, and citing the costume as an example of “brownface.” The costume controversy comes after Disney came under fire for depicting Maui to be overweight and reinforcing cultural stereotypes.
“We are not a costume,” one Twitter user wrote.