The website i09 and others are bringing attention to merchandise recently released for Disney's upcoming film Moana. The controversy surrounds this costume, tee, and pajama set designed with the completion and tattoos of the demigod Maui — voiced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson — that they equate to cultural appropriation and brown face.


The site explains:

The costume looks great on the young male model because he has a similar complexion, but you can’t escape the fact that a white boy or girl is going to be in brownface. Just because you don’t darken the face itself doesn’t mean it’s not offensive and wrong. Speaking of which, what about the face? If the kid darkens their skin at all, to better match the costume, we could see an “Obama” brown face-paint situation, which only makes a bad situation worse.

That doesn’t mean children shouldn’t dress as characters that are different ethnicities, but typically changing your skin color to do so is considered inappropriate. Some have pointed out that the costume can be viewed as something more for children of color, which is understandable, but there’s also the issue of cultural identity. Some have criticized the costume for turning centuries of their Pacific Islander culture into “just a cartoon.”

That’s not to say Disney shouldn’t make a Maui costume at all, but it could be more respectful to make a costume overlay that puts the tattoos on the child’s own skin color, and they wear a t-shirt and leggings to match. However, that would not address the larger cultural appropriation issue that’s been brought up by some critics.

Disney has yet to respond to the criticism and, at this time, all of the items are still available for sale.

Moana opens in theatres November 23rd.

UPDATE (9/21/16): Disney Store has removed all three Maui items in question. In a statement, Disney said, "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.”