An ad for a cruise company offended some people in Hawaii when they portrayed a statue of the late Hawaiian leader King Kamehameha holding a glass of wine in his outstretched hand. Evidently, some Hawaiians feel that their culture is being disrespected. They demanded a full page apology in the magazine the ad appeared in and sensitivity training for the cruise company’s staff.
I say, "Go shit in a hat." This embarrasses me as a Hawaii resident and here’s why.
The Honolulu Advertiser has several quotes from outraged Hawaiians and also non Hawaiians in the tourism industry. This statement by Wayne Panoke, a member of a Hawaiian culture coalition, had this to say:
When I saw it, I was appalled to think that any company would have the audacity to use our culture in that fashion and especially our icon, King KamehamehaPerhaps the ad should have had the head of one of their icon’s enemies?
The fall out resulting from the ad is unfortunate; I think the ad is brilliant. It is unfortunate that the perceived insensitivity on the part of Celebrity Cruises has exploded into a full blown political correctness battle because of a small group of people who found offense, not because of an offense against a deity but because your company stands to make money off the ad. Said Panoke:
I know everybody wants business, but are we going to continue to bastardize our culture so that all these other companies can make millions of dollars?
Ah, now we get it. Someone else besides you is making money off a Hawaii icon.
The Hawaiians that are offended are the same small group of people who think Hawaii should be able to secede from the United States because of an illegal takeover by plantation owners at the end of the 1800’s. I have to believe the majority of this island state, or anyone in their right mind, does not take offense to the ad.
I understand the ad company had to give an apology because they offended a group of people, albeit a small but vocal one, but I heard on a local radio station here that the coalition group also demands an ad of the same size with a written apology AND sensitivity training for the staff of the company.
If an apology isn’t good enough then that is their problem and I doubt the cruise line company will suffer any noticeable loss of revenue because of it. If the company caves in to this self censorship and pressure from a group who reveres their history, so they only they can make a buck off it, then I will not use the cruise line services.