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A Missouri nurse has been fired after she posted a picture of her and her husband in blackface for Halloween.
The woman, Shelbi Elliott-Heenan, uploaded the picture to Facebook and captioned it “Jay Z & Beyoncé,” but the costumes bear little resemblance to the celebrity couple. Rather than trying to recreate any iconic Beyoncé look, Elliot-Heenan wore a black sweatshirt, sequined shorts, black leggings, and black Uggs, an outfit Beyoncé likely would not be caught dead wearing. She didn’t even get the hair right, opting for a long black curly wig rather than Beyoncé’s signature golden brown. She did, however, make sure to cover her skin in dark brown make-up.
Her husband, Jasmond Heenan, did the clothes better justice than his wife did, but his blackface is even more offensive, with the lips emphasized in a minstrel-like fashion.
The Heenans apparently thought the costumes were tasteful, as they shared them on social media. However, other disagreed, and there was a quick and severe backlash. One unidentified woman who saw the post reached out to St. Luke’s Hospital, where Elliot-Heenan was employed as a registered nurse, to point out her use of blackface.
By lunchtime on Monday, Elliot-Heenan had been fired from the hospital. In a statement given to KCTV, St. Luke’s said it was made aware of one of their employees posting pictures on social media in blackface and that “an investigation was initiated immediately.” In a statement, it said that while it is hospital policy to not comment on specific personnel matters, it can confirm that Elliot-Heenan is no longer employed there. “Saint Luke’s is deeply committed to our culture of diversity and inclusion,” the hospital said. “It is fundamental to who we are as an organization and we vigorously protect it on behalf of all our patients and employees and expect those who represent us to do the same.”
H/T the Root
Alex Dalbey is a writer and zinester currently living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have written for The Daily Dot, Kill Screen, The Lingerie Addict, and Bullet Points.