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Halloween store pulls tasteless Anne Frank costume after online backlash
What were they thinking?
Halloween is fast approaching, which means it’s time to for stores to market asome ill-advised costume choices. Like HalloweenCostumes.com’s Anne Frank ensemble.
Called “WW2 Anne Frank Girls Costume,” the costume is described by the retailer as: “We can always learn from the struggles of history! Unfortunately, World War II shook the world in a way that no one could have forseen… It also created some unexpected heroes, where even a young girl like Anne Frank with nothing but a diary and hope could become an inspiration to us all. We can all learn from someone like that!”
While Frank is a pivotal part of history, dressing up as a teenager who died during the Holocaust is tasteless at best. German police arrested the Frank family during World War II and subsequently separated them in the concentration camp system. Her diary was later published by her father after the war ended, becoming The Diary of a Young Girl.
HalloweenCostumes.com’s costume appeared to capitalize off Frank’s death, and many on Twitter criticized the company for thinking this was a good idea.
— Jerod MacDonald-Evoy (@JerodMacEvoy) October 15, 2017
There r better ways 2 commemorate Anne Frank. This is not one. We should not trivialize her memory as a costume.
— carlosgeADL (@carlosgeADL) October 16, 2017
The popular website Halloween Costumes is selling an Anne Frank costume for kids. WTF? pic.twitter.com/cqKQ9UlIge
— Daniel Arenson (@DanielArenson) October 15, 2017
— (((משה בן הרשל))) (@mrankoff) October 15, 2017
The site has since pulled the costume, and the site’s parent company, Fun.com, has also apologized. According to one PR rep, Anne Frank’s costume may have resulted from the site’s larger focus on creating outfits for kids, which includes costumes for school plays and projects.
“We take feedback from customers very seriously,” PR specialist Ross Walker Smith wrote on Twitter. “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.”
But the costume has since reached other retailers, like Walmart, the Halloween Spot, and Ziggos Party. Most sites list it as a “World War II Evacuee Girl” outfit instead, which is heinous in its own right for trivializing Jewish evacuations from Germany during the war. It remains unclear if these costumes will be pulled. According to a post by an official Twitter account, Walmart is looking into the costume’s listing on the retailer’s website.
— Jerod MacDonald-Evoy (@JerodMacEvoy) October 16, 2017
Halloween notoriously brings out the worst in retailers and party-goers alike. Racist costumes are very common in the U.S., often targeting Native Americans or Black Americans. Others dress up as controversial figures, such as men taking on drag to mock Caitlyn Jenner’s gender transitioning. Which reminds me, please, for the love of humanity, no one dress up as Harvey Weinstein this year.
H/T KVUE ABC
Ana Valens is an LGBTQ reporter and essayist for the Daily Dot. Her work has previously appeared in Bitch, the Establishment, Vice's Waypoint, Rolling Stone's Glixel, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.