UPDATE 9:30 p.m. EDT Oct. 27 -- Wal-Mart has decided to pull its Israeli soldier costume for children and "Sheik Fagin Nose" from store shelves and its website. The decision was welcomed by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC).
“The costumes are very problematic, and offensive to many people. The Israeli forces are responsible for the continued death and occupation of the Palestinian people. Such a symbol of fear, violence and a long history of dispossession should not be used for entertainment purposes,” ADC President Samer Khalaf said, according to a news release. “Selling merchandise which mocks Arabs, or any other race or ethnicity, must not be tolerated. These images do nothing but perpetuate racist tropes that have long been used to demonize, otherize and alienate Arab communities throughout history.”
The ADC, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), called on Walmart, Amazon, eBay and Sears to remove the costumes earlier Tuesday. ADC said it would continue to pressure Amazon, eBay and Sears to remove the items immediately.
Wal-Mart and Amazon are facing a massive public backlash over the sale of an Israeli soldier Halloween costume for children, CBS News reported Tuesday. The popular retailers were offering the costume -- consisting of olive-green pants, a jacket with Hebrew writing and a red hat -- for $22.18 to $34.27 on their websites.
Many critics expressed outrage on social media over the contentious costume, noting that its sale coincided with growing violence between Israel’s government and Palestinians. Many people took to Twitter to express their distaste for the costume, and the review section of the costume on Amazon featured a heated debate between consumers.
— Paige Preusse (@4029Paige) October 27, 2015
— Deanna ديانا (@deannaothman) October 26, 2015
One reviewer wrote, “This is absolutely disgusting and should be removed. Unless of course ur going to also sell costumes of the KKK, nazi soldiers, and ISIS...then at least you'd be consistent.” Meanwhile, another reviewer praised the costume, writing, “Great costume for a boy. It teaches a young boy to not be afraid of people that are offended by everything they don't agree with.” Overall, however, the costume received an average of 1.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon, and as of Tuesday afternoon, the costume on Walmart’s website was advertised as “out of stock.”
— Sara Yasin (@missyasin) October 27, 2015
The Israeli soldier costume is certainly not the first Halloween costume to face criticism and controversy this season. Wal-Mart also faced a backlash for the sale of an accessory dubbed a “Sheik Fagin Nose,” described as a “latex prosthetic nose perfect for an Arab Sheik.” The accessory was called racist by several people on Twitter. Amazon also pulled a Halloween costume called the “Lady Boy” from its U.K. site after receiving criticism that the costume was offensive to the transgender community, USA Today reported. Other costumes stirring up debate this year include a Cecil the Lion Killer costume, a Caitlyn Jenner costume and an Ahmed the Clock Boy costume.