Despite the protests of very, very unhappy Hawaiians, the founder of Hula, an informational app on sexually transmitted diseases, refuses to change his product’s name. The free app aims to better connect sexual health care providers and their patients — making it possible to receive your STD test results on your phone and even discreetly share them with your partners. It also points users to their nearest testing centers.
A petition requesting the app’s name be changed — started by three Native Hawaiian high school students — has more than 1,300 signatures on the crowdsourcing site change.org. They argue that Hula fetishizes Hawaiian culture, demeans the value of hula (a treasured ancestral form of dance), and perpetuates the troubling stereotype of the “hula girl.” Then there’s the fact that European settlers brought gonorrhea, syphilis, and other diseases to Hawaii, killing thousands upon thousands of natives in the 19th century. Yikes.
Though he won’t budge on Hula’s name, CEO Ramin Bastini has agreed to delete distasteful references to “getting lei’d” (again, yikes). Before it was Hula, the app was inexplicably known as Qpid.me, which is equally terrible, in a different way.