US retailer takes action after heavy criticism from Arab civil rights organisations and social media users
Hours after social media broke into a frenzy and civil rights organization American-Arab Anti-Discrimination (ADC) Committee expressed concern, US retailer Walmart stopped selling a large prosthetic nose, described in its online Halloween store as “perfect for an Arab Sheikh.”
ADC Urges Retailers to Stop Selling Racist Halloween Costumes https://t.co/zGUY6eWhjT @Walmart @amazon @eBay @Sears pic.twitter.com/mGdeaOi0R6
— ADC National (@adctweets) October 27, 2015
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The product “perpetuates racist tropes that have long been used to demonize, otherize and alienate Arab communities”, an ADC press statement reads.
sooooooo wal-mart is also selling fake noses for an “arab shiek” costume: https://t.co/ePjPzWHa5t pic.twitter.com/l19r7rRDAW
— Sara Yasin (@missyasin) October 27, 2015
ADC joined the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) to make the same request of Amazon.com, eBay and another US retailer Sears.
That’s not racist AT ALL, #Walmart. It’s not like it says “Jewish Nose”–THAT would be antisemitic. pic.twitter.com/DhEuKfXriY
— FidaY (@ifeezie) October 27, 2015
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The retail giant was also criticised on social media for carrying the Israeli soldier Halloween costume.
WHAT?! Walmart is selling an Israeli soldier Halloween costume for kids https://t.co/4wb4r1804N / #Israel #Palestine pic.twitter.com/rwXWYXcvJH
— Nadeem Muaddi (@nmuaddi) October 26, 2015
This Halloween, Walmart offers you either an Israeli soldier kid costume or an Arab sheikh hook nose costume
— Ahmad Alshdefat (@ahmadalshdefat) October 27, 2015
“During the last month, more than 50 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli Occupation Forces,” the ADC press statement reads. “An additional 2,000 have been injured and more than 600 have been imprisoned. Many of those killed, injured or imprisoned have been children.”
#Walmart: Making occupying brown people fun for little ones. https://t.co/uFCH0Fpq6I
— FidaY (@ifeezie) October 26, 2015
The costume was sold by Walmart online on behalf of a smaller retailer, Wholesale Halloween Costume, which had a particularly nationalistic product description: “Defend your Jewish heritage proudly by wearing the Israeli Soldier Boy’s Costume!” the description read. “The Israeli Defense Forces have a mission to protect the land and the people of Israel from outside threats with low casualties, and to avoid waging war if at all possible.”
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Buyers on the website are encouraged to “steel your little soldier with a prop weapon from our vast accessories artillery!”
Meanwhile, the chief executive of Cinema Secrets, the company that manufactured the prosthetic nose, told New York Times that he was unaware of the product until the social media outcry but that he planned to discontinue it. “The last thing that we’re looking to do is to offend anybody.”
The product was later removed from Cinema Secrets’s website. However, both the prosthetic nose and the Israeli soldier costume remain for sale on Amazon.com.
Thanks to @ADCtweets & all the retweets, complaints, @Walmart pulled the offensive costumes! https://t.co/omZApx8czg pic.twitter.com/PdAtrraDpV
— Nadeem Muaddi (@nmuaddi) October 28, 2015