Pottery Barn is under fire from Asian American civil rights groups for offensive Halloween costumes. One costume featured a kimono and the other was a sushi chef, complete with a fake knife and a headband emblazoned with the rising sun from the Japanese flag.
Asian American civil rights activists demanded the immediate removal of the costumes, articulating that it was completely inappropriate to market them as the representation of an entire culture. The costumes have since been removed from Pottery Barn stores and from its website and an official apology was released.
This is far from the first racially charged costume incident of 2013 though. In fact, this seems to be the year of the offensive Halloween costume.
Back in September, Walmart and Amazon were the target of much outrage from the Sikh community for selling a costume, featuring a beard and turban, that was marketed as an "Osama Bin Laden" costume by Amazon. Only after many phone calls and letters from a U.S.-based Sikh advocacy group did the companies decide to stop selling the costume in question.
This seems to be the year of the offensive Halloween costume.
Just this week, Julianne Hough caused a commotion for wearing blackface as part of her Halloween costume. The Dancing With the Stars champion chose to imitate "Crazy Eyes," a character from the Netflix series Orange Is The New Black, and made the unfortunate decision to incorporate face makeup as part of her outfit. The incident caused Hough to come under fierce criticism from a multitude of sources, including the NAACP. Hough quickly released an apology, but many are still upset by the actress' racial insensitivity.
Perhaps the most shockingly insensitive costume of 2013 is the one donned by two young Florida men to impersonate Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. One of the young men wore blackface and was splashed in blood to imitate Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old gunned down in Florida in 2012, while the other dressed as Zimmerman, his shooter, wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words "Neighborhood Watch."
The 2013 Halloween season has been just about the worst in terms of racial insensitivity, although I'm sure we can expect more offensive costumes in years to come. Just a word of advice to everyone out there: Blackface makeup . . . always a bad idea.