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At least, that’s what io9 is thinking, as they’ve brought up the rather obvious dilemma presented when dealing with a child who wants to dress as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s demigod character from the film. The costume is a pitch perfect replica of Maui’s appearance, which is also where the allegations of racism come in.
His physique, his costume, and even his tattoos are all replicated, waiting for an eager young Moana fan to don the costume and have some fun. Unfortunately, his exact skin tone is also mocked up, which leaves lighter skinned fans of the character in a bit of a bind. Take a look at the outfit in question, courtesy of a photo from the Disney Store’s online catalog, below.
As you’ll see, the big issue with the Moana inspired costume is, of course, the fact that if a child any lighter than the costume puts it on, it’s going to look a bit awkward. In fact, it looks like it could lead to the uncomfortable question of whether you let a lighter skinned child go out in public in a very tanned look, or do you engage in what iO9 has basically pointed out as blackface? Either way, it isn’t exactly the sort of issue Disney would have wanted to have to address with what was supposed to have been a harmless costume for the Halloween season.
There are no easy answers when it comes to the issue of the Maui costume tie-in to Moana. On one hand, children should be encouraged to dress as any character they want to be, but on the other hand, you would think Disney would be a bit more attuned to this potential drama. After all of the marketing pitfalls they’ve suffered throughout their marketing of Marvel Studio films, as well as the previous complaints about Moana itself, you would think that the powers that be would have run this idea through a couple more hands before executing.