Russian figure skater Anton Shulepov has sparked an outcry, after he donned an Auschwitz-themed Holocaust costume replete with black stripes and a large yellow Star of David.
Onlookers were aghast when the 23-year-old skater took the ice at the 2019 Grand Prix of Figure Skating held in Torino Palavela, Turin, Italy, hosted by the Italian Ice Sports Federation, TMZ reported.
The costume featured a half-shirt sporting subdued vertical black stripes on a white background with a large yellow Star of David over the skater’s left breast. Beneath the star is a line of numbers emulating the registration numbers that the Nazis assigned to the millions of Jews they murdered during World War Two. The other half of the shirt appears like a dark suit and tie.
The costume immediately sparked outrage the minute the skater hit the ice.
The Anti-Defamation League’s Jonathan A. Greenblatt, for instance, called the costume “insensitive and offensive.”
“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,” Greenblatt said.
“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 have no place in figure skating,” the ADL chief added.
In this week's skating controversy, Russian skater Anton Shulepov's costume for his Schindler's List program was included in the ISU's nominees for best costume. Fans have criticized the vulgarity of the costume for much of the season. ISU claims including it was an "error." https://t.co/FFhoOZHhTb pic.twitter.com/s7IN3YVUwc
— Caroline Glenn (@bycarolineglenn) December 2, 2019
Even more inexplicably, the International Skating Union nominated Shulepov’s outrageous costume for an award for best costume.
After Shulepov skated to the theme from the movie Schindler’s List, a photo of the Holocaust-themed outfit appeared on the event website as a best costume entrant.
But once the outrage began, the ISU pulled the photo and apologized, claiming that they had posted the wrong picture. The ISU said they meant to post one of Shulepov’s other costumes and picked the Holocaust photo by mistake.
“This error has been corrected and the ISU sincerely apologizes for this mistake and the bad sentiments it has caused,” figure skating’s international governing body said according to the Washington Post.
The ISU regrets that by error the wrong costume (Free Skating instead of Short Program costume) of Mr. Shulepov has been presented for voting.
This error has been corrected and the ISU sincerely apologizes for this mistake and the bad sentiments it has caused.
— ISU Figure Skating (@ISU_Figure) December 2, 2019
Follow Warner Todd Huston on facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.