Disney Pulls Moana Costume Over Cultural Misappropriation Accusations

"We regret that the Maui costume has offended some,” the company said in a statement

By McKenna Aiello Sep 22, 2016 7:14 PMTags
Moana, Halloween CostumeDisney Store

Sorry, trick-or-treaters. Disney has pulled it's Moana Halloween costume from shelves after inciting claims of cultural insensitivity. 

The costume in question was that of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's character in the forthcoming animated flick, a Polynesian demigod named Maui whose large build, tan skin, grass skirt and traditional tattoos were adapted into a boy's bodysuit, as well as accompanying shark-tooth necklace and long, black wig.

Critics lambasted the company on social media, accusing Disney of promoting brown face, or "Polyface," and disrespecting the Pacific Islander culture by including Maui's body art on the costume. The Disney store also features Maui pajamas, tees and sweatshirts with brown skin and traditional tattoos on their site.

A statement released by Disney to multiple outlets read, "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."

Moana: Meet the Characters

Prior to the latest development in the scandal, one Twitter user commented, "I wanted Moana to be real. I wanted to feel relevant in the eyes of the general public, but no. I'm only a costume to them, and that's sad." Others seemingly came to the defense of the costume writing, "So it's clear the Moana costume doesn't have a brown skin jumpsuit like Maui's. That was the only way for them to capture his look." 

Moana, set for a Nov. 23 release, follows Polynesian teenager Moana as she sets off on a whirlwind quest alongside Maui. Auli'i Cravalho voices the titular Polynesian princess, whom the studio calls "indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself." Jemaine Clement,Rachel House, Temuera Morrison, Phillipa Soo and Alan Tudyk round out Moana's voice cast.

Ron Clements and John Musker—who brought you The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Treasure Planet and The Princess and the Frog—directed the film.