Shortly after the release of Disney’s trailer for its upcoming movie Moana, in which Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson provides the voice of the demi-god Maui, mixed reviews have hit social media, calling the character obese and insulting to Polynesian culture.
According to The Guardian, one woman on Facebook, Jenny Salesa (Tongan heritage), called Disney’s rendering of Maui “half pig, half hippo."
“When we look at photos of Polynesian men & women from the last 100-200 years, most of our people were not overweight and this negative stereotype of Maui is just not acceptable - No thanks to Disney,” she wrote.
Samoan professional rugby player Eliota Fuimanono Sapolu also dislikes the portrayal of Maui. He said on Facebook: “Maui looking like after he fished up the Islands, he deep fried em and and ate em.”
Others on Twitter have come to the defense of Maui and Moana - most notably Dwayne Johnson, who said he is “proud and honored” to share the movie’s trailer release.
Cecilia Sagote, the editor of SUGA a Samoan women’s magazine, told ICTMN via Twitter,
"The outrage on the depiction of Maui has been blown out of proportion and the uproar is not representative of Poly opinion.”
Isoa Kavakimotu, a man from New Zealand who calls himself a “pretty big guy,” created a YouTube video in support of Maui.
Maui isn’t Fat - YouTube
Kavakimotu said in his video that he was fine with The Rock’s portrayal, the size of the animated character and calls Maui a powerhouse who is capable of slowing down the sun, rescuing islands and fighting monsters.
Disney’s Moana is slotted for a 2016 Thanksgiving release and also features actress Auli’i Cravalho as Moana. The movie has songs and music by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, as well as Opetaia Foa’i and Mark Mancina.
Here is the official Disney Movie trailer:
For more information visit www.Disney.com/Moana
Follow ICTMN’s Arts and Entertainment, Pow Wow’s and Sports Editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling