The company retained the sales of a Polynesian-themed costume depicting Maui, a character from the movie Moana.
Critics against the costume didn’t wait long in commenting about the issue on Twiter:
— Michelle Blau (@MichelleEBlau) September 21, 2016
Glad somebody finally stood up to Disney’s cultural appropriation… Cowboys, princesses, mermaids, seek justice! https://t.co/1iDd66BMPR
— Sean O’Connell (@realOCsports) September 23, 2016
— Pua (@Tita_Moke) September 19, 2016
Disney said Wednesday it would no longer sell a boy’s costume for a Polynesian character that some Pacific Islanders have compared to blackface.The costume depicts Maui — a revered figure in Polynesian oral traditions and viewed by some Pacific Islanders as an ancestor.
“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. “We sincerely apologize and are pulling the costume from our website and stores.”
The Disney online store began selling the costume recently, just in time for Halloween. The listing noted the getup had “padded arms and legs for mighty stature!”
Tevita Kaili, a professor of cultural anthropology at Brigham Young University-Hawaii, said he was happy Disney responded to the criticism and pulled the product.
He said the costume featured tattoos that would be used in Polynesia by chiefs, adults and those committed to the community. They’re removed from their cultural context by appearing on a Halloween costume, he said.
“For most of us in the Pacific, in Polynesia, we see Maui as an important ancestor to us — as a real person,” he said costume earned international condemnation.
Do you think the costume deserves international condemnation?
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