Why People Are Upset At The Rock’s Character In Disney’s Moana

Photo Courtesy of Disney.
Disney's new movie, Moana, is one of the most highly-anticipated animation films of the fall. While the specifics of the plot are still unclear from the trailers, we know that we are getting a new princess named Moana, voiced by 14-year-old Auli'i Cravalho. We also know that we get to meet Maui, a legendary Polynesian demi-god, voiced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. From the trailers, Maui seems like both a source of comedic relief and guidance to the young princess as he tells her tales of his strength and she stares at him skeptically. He seems part-Hercules, part-Kronk, part-IRL The Rock himself. The reception for the film has been pretty positive so far, with fans praising Disney for bringing another diverse set of characters to the screen following the release of The Princess and The Frog in 2009. But, a few members of the Polynesian community are voicing their concerns and dissatisfaction with the depiction of Maui. They feel that the cartoon version of Maui is degrading and disrespectful to their culture.

One site titled an article on the subject
, "Fat Maui mickey mouse." A meme of Maui, posted by footballer Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, shows the fictionalized character's body compared to The Rock in Hercules.
Another woman, Jenny Salesa, a member of the Labour Party of Parliament in South Auckland shared a similar image also originally posted by Fuimaono-Sapolu, and wrote that "this negative stereotype of Maui is just not acceptable - No thanks to Disney."
Others on Twitter agree.
On the other side of the argument is comic book illustrator and wrestler, Michael Mulipola. On his social media platforms, he annotated the character's sketches and explained why he does not think that the images of Maui are offensive or dishonest.
Mulipola also shared another "sketch" showing what Maui really looks like, based purely "on facts." He pointed out the fact that Maui is a fictionalized being so no one knows what he did, or how he'd actually appear.
In a YouTube video on the subject, another New Zealander said that to him, "Maui's body is all about function, not aesthetics." He continued, "When I look at Maui's body, I do not see an obese man who has had too much to eat at his aunties house... I see a demi-god who looks like he is physically capable of fishing up the islands..."
Disney, nor the cast of the film, has spoken out about the ongoing discussion.

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