It’s a bit early for Halloween costume controversies , but the outrage machine is ever vigilant, and has provided a provocative ethics quiz, though not a difficult one if one isn’t the Headless Horseman.
Disney released a Halloween costume for kids that will allow tykes to dress up as the Polynesian demi-god Maui, a character in its new animated movie “Moana.” This is classic Disney cross-marketing, what Wells Fargo would call “cross-selling,” and what Elizabeth Warren would call “evil,” because it makes money for a big corporation. The difference is that Disney allows customers to actually purchase such products intentionally, while Wells Fargo charges customers for products without their knowing it.
Wait, how did I get off on Wells Fargo and Warren? Right: the next post. Sorry.
Back to Maui: The costume features a body-suit with thin brown material covered by traditional Polynesian tattoos, as well as a grass skirt and a plastic bone necklace. As soon as it was released on the web, the costume was attacked as racist (it’s the equivalent of blackface, critics say) and an example of cultural appropriation. Marama Fox, co-leader of New Zealand’s Maori Party, said that selling the costume is “no different to putting the image of one of our ancestors on a shower curtain or a beer bottle” while Pasifika news site Samoa Planet described the release as “cultural appropriation at its most offensive worst”. The New Zealand Human Rights Commission issued a statement calling on Disney to “listen to the views of the communities and people whose cultures their movie is based upon.“ Translation: “Bend to our will, or else.”
Activist Chelsie Haunani Fairchild argued on Facebook that Disney was encouraging a children to wear “the skin of another race.”
“Polyface is Disney’s new version of blackface. Let’s call it like it is, people,” Fairchild argued in a video.
Your Ethics Alarms (Ridiculously Early Halloween) Ethics Quiz of the Day is this: