Disney has pulled its Polynesian demigod Maui costume from physical and online stores in the wake of a PR kerfuffle over the outfit a little over a month before Halloween and two months before the film’s release. The costume is a likeness of Dwayne Johnson’s character in the upcoming Disney animated feature “Moana” and consists of a dark skinned, long-sleeved bodysuit of tattoos with a leaf skirt.
Selling a costume of a character from Polynesian mythology was already a shaky proposition, but then several users on social media (including Native Hawaiians) stepped forward saying it was wrong to have a child dress in the skin color of another race and it was “worse than Black Face”. Disney was quick to respond, pulling the costume and offering the following statement:
“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.”
Disney has reportedly tried hard to ensure the film is diversity-appropriate with almost all of the voice actors playing Polynesians are actually actors of Polynesian descent.