Disney Pulls Costume Criticized As Being “Polyface”

HONOLULU, HI (CBS SF/AP) – 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 getup depicts the character Maui in the upcoming animated movie “Moana.” It has a long-sleeve brown shirt and long pants featuring full-body tattoos. It comes with a fake shark-tooth necklace and green-leaf “skirt.”

Disney pulled the costume of the character Maui from the movie “Moana” after it was likened to blackface (credit:  DisneyStore.com/CBS News)

Disney pulled the costume of the character Maui from the movie “Moana” after it was likened to blackface (credit: DisneyStore.com/CBS News)

Disney’s online store had offered boy’s pajamas and a men’s t-shirt in a similar design, but those products were no longer available Wednesday.

“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.”

Chelsie Haunani Fairchild said it’s offputting to have a child wear the skin of another race.

“Polyface is Disney’s new version of blackface. Let’s call it like it is, people,” Fairchild said in a video she posted on Facebook.

The Native Hawaiian college student said in an interview the costume doesn’t honor or pay homage to a culture or person, but makes fun of it.

“It bastardizes Polynesians by doing something like that. You’re stripping away its integrity,” said Fairchild, who is attending school in San Antonio, Texas.

The Disney online store recently began selling the costume, just in time for Halloween. The listing noted the getup had “padded arms and legs for mighty stature!”

“Moana” is due for release in November. The animated feature is about a teenager who sails through the South Pacific to a fabled island. She meets Maui — revered in Polynesian oral traditions and viewed by some Pacific Islanders as an ancestor — who helps her explore the ocean.

The costume earned international condemnation.

Marama Fox, a co-leader of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori Party and a member of New Zealand’s parliament, said the costume was a case of cultural misappropriation and an example of a company trying to profit off of another culture’s intellectual property.

The movie itself, she said, appeared to be playing into stereotypes.

“It depicts Maui as a bit of a beefy guy, and not in a good way. That’s not the picture I have of the Maui who fished up the North Island, and had a number of feats attributed to him,” she said.

TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS San Francisco

Get The New CBS SF Bay Area Local App
Got Our Weather App?
%d bloggers like this:

Listen Live