Disney Once Again Accused of Profiting Off Racist Film

in Disney, Merchandise, Movies

Left: A Native American woman with long black hair and red lipstick speaks in front of a green-screened image of a Pocahontas costume on shopDisney. Right: Pocahontas as seen on film during "Colors of the Wind." She is in front of a pink background.

Last year, we reported on a former Disney Cast Member who begged The Walt Disney Company to stop selling Pocahontas (1995) merchandise. She argued that the media conglomerate should know better than to exploit an Indigenous woman’s image for profit.

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A Native American woman is now echoing the same sentiments on TikTok. Nikki Apostolou (@recycldstardust) shared the following video with her hundreds of thousands of followers:

@recycldstardust

Disney has continued to profit off of our figurehead mmiw pocahontas and the harmful whitewashed story they shared. #pocahontas #disney #nativeamerican #nativetiktok #nativefamily

♬ original sound – Recycledstardust

“For many, Pocahontas is their favorite Disney Princess,” Apostolou began. “And Disney has created a lot of merch surrounding her. For starters, we have the Disney Designer Pocahontas doll. Wonder if this is the kind of outfit they put her in when she was unalived under mysterious circumstances?” (Creators often substitute words like “unalive” for “murder” to avoid censorship from TikTok.)

“You can also dress up as our figurehead MMIW [Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman], so you too can experience what it’s like to be a Native woman for a day,” she continued. “For many young Native women, we go missing or are unalived simply for existing. But thank goodness this one features fringe and sequins.”

A Pocahontas dress, jewelry set, and sandals available on ShopDisney.
Pocahontas costume pieces available on ShopDisney. Credit: ShopDisney

Apostolou also critiqued costumes made for children. “Pocahontas herself was a child who was forced to marry a much older man before she was taken away to another country. And also, she was a POW [Prisoner of War]. I wonder if this is the kind of sandal she wore as a POW.”

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“And we can’t forget about the jewelry. Denim jackets. And, of course, the toys. Because we haven’t been complaining about this for almost 30 years,” she concluded.

Pocahontas standing on a rock in front of a purple and pink sky.
Credit: Disney

In the caption of her video, Apostolou called Pocahontas a “harmful whitewashed story” and admonished Disney for continuing to profit off it. Many commenters agreed.

“It makes me angry and sad that they have profited off a false narrative about her,” said @spiritofmoana.

More on Pocahontas (1995)

Pocahontas staring wistfully into a blue sky.
Credit: Disney

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Walt Disney Animation Studios tried to correct its mistakes with Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World (1998). Still, the film series is regularly critiqued for its historical inaccuracies. From Disney:

Pocahontas — along with her playful pals Meeko and Flit — relies on the guidance of her loving and wise Grandmother Willow when English settlers arrive on the shores of their village. Her chance meeting with the courageous Captain John Smith leads to a beautiful friendship that bridges the gap between two cultures, and changes history.

Do you think Disney should sell Pocahontas merchandise? 

in Disney, Merchandise, Movies

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