The International Skating Union (ISU) has issued an apology after nominating a Russian skater for “best costume” after he wore an ensemble made to look like a Holocaust concentration camp prisoner’s uniform. The ISU says the nomination was made in error.
Anton Shulepov is the 23-year-old skater who is under scrutiny over what people are calling an “offensive” costume choice. The outfit in question features a yellow Star of David, resembling the one that Jewish people were forced to wear during the Holocaust, over a striped pattern that looks like the uniform that prisoners wore at Auschwitz and other concentration camps, where over six million Jews were killed. Shulepov wore the costume for two competitions in November while skating to a song from the 1994 film Schindler’s List.
The costume received negative attention on social media after Shulepov first wore it during a free skate at the Internationaux de France in early November; he wore it again for a competition in Japan later in the month. However, the latest outcry results from the ISU’s decision to include the controversial look in a roundup presented for public voting in the category for “best costume” on Sunday.
The fact that Shulepov is included under best costume is profoundly offensive. Some of us have family who died in the Holocaust. The yellow Star of David is what marked ordinary people for death, just because they were Jewish. This isn’t just some movie; real people died.— Tol™ Lauren (@tyrannolaur) December 1, 2019
You need to remove Shulepov from Best Costume and issue an apology. His costume is offensive to people like myself who lost family. Genocide is not entertainment. It’s not sport.— T. R. Nasty (@_whatshername) December 1, 2019
Please remove Shulepov's costume from best costume category. It's incredibly insulting and irresponsible to commend a costume that is this upsetting to people whose families and lives were affected by real life events.— Christine, in the Shoma Support Corner (@noldorin_sith) December 1, 2019
Remove Shulepov’s offensive costume from this. Appalling— chisakanon loving hours (@harohapigays) December 1, 2019
As of Monday morning, the ISU issued an apology on Twitter for what it said was an “error,” in an attempt to nominate Shulepov for a different costume worn for a short program.
The ISU regrets that by error the wrong costume (Free Skating instead of Short Program costume) of Mr. Shulepov has been presented for voting.— ISU Figure Skating (@ISU_Figure) December 2, 2019
This error has been corrected and the ISU sincerely apologizes for this mistake and the bad sentiments it has caused.
Still, people continued to speak out against the organization for nominating Shulepov in the first place. Some even wrote that the incident points to a larger issue.
The fact that this even went up as a nominee without the implications being taken into account speaks volumes.— taylor (@itstaylorbot) December 2, 2019
It is an absolute disgrace that this guy's programme was approved of in the first place and that he was allowed to skate in a costume that turns genocide into entertainment. Have you no decency? To then make it eligible for an award is beyond the pale. As is your non-apology.— Dr. Sandra Schwab (@ScribblingSandy) December 2, 2019
The ISU didn’t immediately reply to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. Yahoo Lifestyle’s attempts to reach Shulepov and his coach, Kirill Davydenko, were not immediately successful.
Jonathan A Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, provided the following statement to Yahoo Lifestyle:
“While we understand the need for skaters to be creative in their choice of costumes, Anton Shulepov’s apparent decision to evoke painful Holocaust imagery as part of his routine was insensitive and offensive. We are surprised that the International Skating Union initially posted a picture of this costume as a nominee for ‘costume of the year.’ Yellow Stars of David or other concentration camp imagery has no place in figure skating.”
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