Not everyone celebrates Halloween, but we’ve probably all been to a dress-up party or two in our time, and there’s always that one person who takes things too far. This week, it’s online retail giant Amazon dealing with the uncomfortable murmurs and shocked double-takes. A costume modelled after Oscar Pistorius, the South African sprinter found guilty of murdering his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day 2013.
The costume, which was listed for £26.10 (AU$44 and US$34), included a green sleeveless shirt and shorts modelled after Pistorius’s Paralympic uniform. Boot covers would serve as a representation of Pistorius’s iconic racing blades.
The shirt bore the words “Blade Gunner”, a play on Pistorius’s popular Blade Runner nickname. While it did not appear to be included in the Halloween package, the picture of the outfit did feature a plastic gun.
The independent seller, who was using Amazon to distribute their costumes, wrote that “This Paralympic runner costume is sure to cause some controversy at your next event.”
After Twitter users began posting about the costume, demanding answers from Amazon, the listing for the costume was removed. The company later removed another Pistorius listing, which featured a paper mask of the convicted criminal.
“Why are you not checking what is sold your site?” one person posted on Twitter. “How can extreme violence against women ever be a joke or marketing opportunity?”
Why are you not checking what is sold on your site? How can extreme violence against women ever be a joke or marketing opportunity?
— Vivi Rivi (@Vivstwits) October 19, 2017
After publishing an article on the costume, The Daily Mail was contacted by an Amazon spokesperson.
“Marketplace sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who don’t will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The product in question is no longer available.”
It’s not the first distasteful Halloween costume that has emerged this year; earlier this week, there was uproar over a costume modelled after Anne Frank’s attire. Consisting of a green beret, blue coat and brown satchel, the costume was listed on various websites as “WW2 Anne Frank Girls Costume” or the more vague “World War II Evacuee Girl Costume”.
Holocaust survivors were among those outraged by the insinuation that young girls should be allowed to dress up in such a costume. The Anne Frank Centre for Mutual Respect also said the costume “trivialises Anne’s suffering and the suffering of millions during the Holocaust”.