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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.

The Rock’s Husky Polynesian God from Disney’s Moana Gets Mixed Reviews

Vincent Schilling
7/6/16

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.”

She also tweeted, “Pretty sure my ancestors were amazing, super-intelligent warriors. That's why we are all looking fwd to celebrating  #Moana.

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

 

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Chris Worthington
Submitted by Chris Worthington on
I don't comment on this site usually, because although I have some Native heritage, I am culturally and mostly genetically white, and I come here to connect with the small part of me that is Native and to learn about the issues important to Native Americans. That being said, I am concerned that the critics are upset about the body image of the character. As a "person of size" I find this a bit problematic, because I think good and intelligent and beautiful people come in all sizes. If the movie portrays the culture in other ways that are inaccurate and insulting, that is a huge problem. But if the problem is that you want a slimmer hero, that might be promoting another type of bigotry, and that is sad to me.

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bullbear
Submitted by bullbear on
A simple question, please: Was there any consultation with the heritages that are being featured in this movie? My guess is that there was little to none by the producers of the film. We all know how the Native Americans have been portrayed in movies, the stigma attached as savages, and in present-day there is the, "I thought there were no more Indians." To Disney movie officials: Thank you for your past efforts to provide hands-on training to art students of Native American heritage. Please make it a part of your movie production process to always seek input, advice, knowledge, understanding and above all, respect and honor, from the various racial heritages who you are attempting to portray on film for the public viewing. My firm belief is that Mr. Walt Disney wanted to make this a more wholesome world with entertainment as a means to channel friendship and understanding. I don't believe I need to say anymore.
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