Several retailers have pulled an Anne Frank-inspired Halloween costume after social media backlash.
The costume, which is still being sold on Amazon as a “Children’s World War II Evacuee Girl Costume” for $65.06, was the centre of attention on social media sites on Monday.
Images of the costume, which was being sold on several sites, was seen under an “Anne Frank” label on the site HalloweenCostumes.eu. The costume has since been removed from the site.
The costume of the Holocaust victim — which also comes in a boy’s version under “evacuee boy” — includes a bag, pea coat and beret.
According to the BBC, a spokesman for the site apologized to a Twitter user on Sunday.
“We take feedback from customers very seriously,” spokesperson Ross Walker Smith said in a statement. “We have passed along the feedback regarding this costume, and it has been removed from the website at this time. We apologize for any offense it has caused, as that’s never our intention.”
Smith notes the costumes on the site aren’t only for Halloween but can be purchased for other uses as well.
According to a description of the costume, which has now been removed, the retailer called Frank a “hero” and “inspiration.”
“We offer several types of historically accurate costumes — from prominent figures to political figures, to television characters,” Smith continued.
On their site currently under children’s historical costumes, the retailer includes everything from a “colonial girl costume” to “boys Pharaoh costume” to former U.S. presidents.
Social media users react
On Twitter, many found the costume offensive and not funny.
There were also users who noted how people were offended by an Anne Frank costume, but still think native, blackface and other cultural-based costumes were appropriate for Halloween.
Some didn’t see a problem with their child dressing up like Frank.
According to Newsweek, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said the organization was glad the costume was removed from the site, and how it was hard to believe someone thought this was appropriate in the first place.
“It shows we still have a long way to go in terms of educating people about what happened during the Holocaust, and why this unique event in human history should never be trivialized,” he told the site.
Teaching kids about appropriate costumes
Children’s costumes that are offensive are nothing new; last year Disney pulled a “Moana” costume after it was compared to blackface.
Vancouver-based parenting coach Julie Romanowski, says adults are automatically role models for all children, whether they want to be or not.
“Most children wouldn’t even know the full story never mind the full scope to which some of these controversial costumes exist,” she tells Global News. “Start with explaining the details of the story and then the issues surrounding it.”
She adds ignorance also plays a huge role in the case of insensitive Halloween costumes, and as parents, it is their job to teach and guide children through these issues of being inappropriate.
“When it comes to parents guiding their children in making appropriate choices, children have to know the parameters to which their parents want and then they have to care about those parameters. This method becomes successful when a parent discusses the expectations and parameters beforehand with their child while being connected to their child.”