UPDATE: Disney Has Now Pulled The Costume From Shelves
It's a hard thing to own up to your mistakes, but Disney has done just that by not only removing the objectionable "skin" suit for sale, but making an official apology to fans upset by the ill-considered outfit:
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.
There are many awesome things about Disney's upcoming movie Moana, not least the commitment to respectful accuracy regarding the characters' Polynesian culture. Main cast members Dwayne Johnson and Auli'i Cravalho are both of Polynesian descent (Samoan and Native Hawaiian respectively), and the Disney team did a huge amount of research to ensure that Moana is considerate and celebratory of its heroes' heritage.
So far, so good — until this costume happened:
Needless to say, many are very unhappy about this brown skin costume, which has been compared to racist blackface costume.
The Silence of the Lambs skin-costume thing has not gone unnoticed.
- The Ocean Is Calling: 7 Things You Might Not Know About Disney's Moana
- Dive In And Acquaint Yourself With The South Pacific Ahead Of Disney's Newest Princess Film Moana
- Moana: Is The Backlash For Disney's New Animated Film Warranted?
Fans have been excited about Moana as a film, but are upset that one piece of ill-considered merchandise has detracted from an awesome, ethnically-sensitive movie.
Maori advocate Karaitiana Taiuru spoke to New Zealand publication Stuff about halting the tide of cultural appropriation before a dangerous precedent is set:
"I just wonder if this is going to be the start of a whole new range of products. We need to take a stand now and say, 'Look, this is not appropriate,' to prevent other entrepreneurs trying to do something similar. ... There are unlimited opportunities for discrimination and exploitation."
Let's hope that this questionable costume is removed from sale so that the public can continue to ride the wave of the amazing positives of Disney's Moana.
Check out the trailer for Moana, released November 23, 2016.
What are your thoughts on this costume?