The Maui Costume: A Response from a White Person

The recent issue with the Maui costume is something I’ve thought about A LOT. Equality of all races & genders is something that is extremely important to me & I try my best to be as educated as I can on conflicts such as this. As many people know, Disney has pulled the Maui costume, Maui pajamas, Maui sweater & men’s Maui t-shirt, all products which depict Maui’s dark skin & tattoos for people to wear.

I believe that Polynesian people have every right to be incredibly upset that their culture has been appropriated. Because I am a white person, I don’t deserve to think that this costume is anything but wrong. I am not a Polynesian person. It is not my culture that has been turned into a costume, therefore, I do not get a say in this situation. Instead, I will use my voice to support the Polynesian people who have been hurt by these products, and help them be heard. I will fully try my best to see this situation from the perspective of those it has offended & I fully acknowledge that I will never fully understand how this has hurt people, because it wasn’t me. A culture is not a costume, & this is something I avidly preach every Halloween. I understand that people are arguing that “the Maui costume is for a specific character, not the entire Polynesian culture” BUT it is still a skin suit of another culture & no one should ever have the right to wear that. It’s messed up.

To quote Louis CK, “ When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn't”.


Found a super cheap flight to Maui last weekend, so I rented a car and explored the entire island solo. I spent the weekend sleeping in the car, waking up at sunrise, driving the entire coast, photographing, hiking, and eating the local cuisine. I can’t say there have been many other times where I felt this alive in my whole life.

Maui, Hawaii. February 2016.


“Characters in Moana don’t accurately resemble Polynesian people”
Honestly, I would say that if everyone were skinny and light-skinned (like the rest of Disney). But that’s not the case. Im sure there’d be just as much outrage if he were skinny with a six pack. You can’t please everyone 🤔