‘Painful symbol of persecution’: ISU apologizes for nominating Auschwitz-themed outfit for best costume award The International Skating Union (ISU) has apologized for including an Auschwitz-themed uniform worn by Russian skater Anton Shulepov in the list of best costume of the year award nominees.
The 23-year-old Russian has staged an emotional free-program this year to music from the movie Schindler’s List.
Shulepov’s costume design includes elements of a Nazi guard uniform and concentration camp prisoners’ outfit which caused outrage among figure skating fans who considered his costume choice to be ‘offensive.’
Along with a striped uniform worn by concentration camp prisoners Shupelov’s costume also has a Yellow Star of David, an identifying badge that was used to mark Jews during the Nazi era.
“The ISU regrets that by error the wrong costume (Free Skating instead of Short Program costume) of Mr. Shulepov has been presented for voting,” the ISU said.
“This error has been corrected and the ISU sincerely apologizes for this mistake and the bad sentiments it has caused.”
“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,” one person tweeted.
“Shulepov’s costume exploits and cheapens a real human tragedy, one that I lost family members in. The Holocaust is not a movie, and not something you cosplay. I would urge you to remove the costume from the list of nominations,” another comment read.
“Please reconsider the message you’re sending in including a costuming approach like Shulepov’s for nomination, which reduces the tragedy of the Holocaust into a cosplay as though it’s any other movie and uses an incredibly painful symbol of persecution as a mere design element,” another complaint read.
“I have family that’s supposed to be alive right now that isn’t because of disease in a labor camp in WWII. Seeing someone in a half concentration camp uniform with yellow star, half Nazi guard uniform ruins my enjoyment of figure skating events,” a figure skating fan added.
Having received an avalanche of complaints the ISU removed Shupelov’s costume from the list of nominees.
This season Shulepov finished eighth and 11th at two Grand Prix stages in France and Japan respectively, failing to qualify for the Grand Prix final.