Disney recently announced the removal of their “Maui costume,” which is part of the company’s most recent film “Moana.” This happened after a series of racial complaints surfaced on social media.
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. The animated film tells the story of a young teenager girl, belonging to the Polynesian culture that embarks on a new adventure.
Disney was looking to create a more diverse character that represented a society that is considered a minority. The company was hoping to educate children about different cultures that are not that well-known. However, since the film was announced, there has been a lot of racial skepticism.
After the publication of their Halloween Maui costume, racial comments began to surface on social media, pledging that the company was using the Polynesian culture as cultural appropriation.
After the issue exploited and the controversy started, Disney decided to apologize for the inconvenience and remove the custom from their online and physical stores.
“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. We sincerely apologize and are pulling the costume from our website and stores,” said a Disney representative to the Huffington Post.
Disney had stated its good intentions to represent the Pacific Island cultures since Mona was first announced, however, social media enthusiasts didn’t feel so thrilled about their Maui costume.
The Halloween costume consists of a dark-skin suit with cultural tattoos belonging to the Pacific Islands culture, a shark tooth necklace, and a skirt with printed leaves on it. It also features a curly hair wig, padded arms, and legs to represent the corpulent body of the demigod in the movie.
Disney also included a sleeping suit for boys that includes tight dark pants and shirt with the same cultural tattoos and leaves around the waist line. After the publication of the products many started to claim the company view dark skin as a suit.
As the Huffington Post reports, if a darker skin kid uses the costume it might not be seen as bad as if a whiter child uses it since it would be considered as if “dark skin” is being used as part of a Halloween costume.
Cultural appropriation is a concept that explains that larger group of people uses a minority’s culture practices or symbols without understanding what they really mean. In this case, every child using the cultural tattoos without really knowing what they mean to the culture.
Disney’s apology and response seem like an appropriate way to handle this types of misunderstandings. Moana will hit theaters on November 23 of the current year.
Source: New York Daily News