US & Canada

Walmart pulls Israeli army Halloween costume after outrage

Screengrab of costume from Walmart website Image copyright Walmart

US supermarket Walmart has discontinued the sale of controversial Halloween costumes after they sparked outrage.

The costumes depicted an Israeli solder and a large-nosed Arab man.

The outfits sparked a backlash on social media ahead of Halloween on Saturday and came at a time of spiralling violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) called the "Sheikh Fagin nose" "racist anti-Arab costumes"

The latex prosthetic nose is described on the website as being "perfect for an Arab Sheik".

Its large, hook-nosed appearance and the use of the name Fagin - referring to a character in Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist - appear also to play into anti-Semitic stereotypes.

"Selling merchandise which mocks Arabs, or any other race or ethnicity, must not be tolerated," said Samer Khalaf President of ADC.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) costume was also heavily criticised by many on Twitter.

More than 40 Palestinians have died in unrest in Israel and the Palestinian territories this month, many killed carrying out attacks on Israelis. Nine Israelis have been killed and dozens wounded in stabbings and some gun attacks.

Image copyright Jastinder Khera
Image copyright Twitter

Earlier this year, an outfit inspired by transgender reality star and former athlete Caitlyn Jenner's Vanity Fair cover was condemned as "transphobic" and "deplorable."

Another costume based on famed Zimbabwean lion Cecil, who was shot by an American dentist, was criticised by an animal welfare charity.

In 2013 UK supermarket chains Tesco and Asda - which is owned by Walmart - withdrew outfits for a "mental patient" and for someone from a "psycho ward" after they were criticised for stigmatising people with mental health issues.

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