Russian figure skater Anton Shulepov has been condemned for wearing a "Holocaust-themed" costume in a recent competition. The 23-year-old wore symbolic imagery of Nazi concentration camps while skating to music from the movie Schindler's List. The outrage has now spilled outside of the figure skating community.
Shulepov debuted his "Auschwitz-themed" costume last month at the Grand Prix of Figure Skating, according to a report by TMZ. The international competition had professionals from all over the world in attendance, so the costume was seen on the world stage.
The outfit included a yellow Star of David like those that Jewish prisoners were forced to wear to identify themselves during the holocaust. It also had a number printed underneath it, yet other aspects of the outfit mirrored Nazi prison guard uniforms. Shulepov reportedly finished last in that competition.
Despite his loss, the shocking outfit was then featured on the International Skating Union's "Best Costume" list published this week. The top picks were decided by votes among fans, but in this case they were overruled.
The ISU reportedly removed the costume from the list a short while later. The organization claimed that it had featured the wrong costume, meaning to show Shulepov's outfit from his "Short Program" routine.
Shulepov's costume has already been condemned by the Anti-Defamation League. The league's CEO, Jonathan A. Greenblatt, released a statement admonishing the ISU as well.
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
"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," he said.
"We are surprised that the International Skating Union initially posted a picture of this costume as a nominee for 'costume of the year,'" he went on. "Yellow Stars of David or other concentration camp imagery have no place in figure skating."
The costume was condemned online as well, with many people wondering how Shulepov and his team got all the way to competition without being told off.
"I am truly shocked at the inclusion of Anton Shulepov's free skate costume in the best costume list," one person wrote. "It is irresponsible and offensive. The horrors of genocide is not entertainment. Remove it immediately."
"Why is Anton Shulepov's extremely offensive costume, that so many people have been asking you to forbid him from wearing, nominated for 'best costume?'" added another. "Are you really THAT ignorant? Are you just being antisemitic on purpose? Do you think making fun of holocaust victims is ok?"
Shulepov has three international figure skating medals to his name, including the 2015 CS Warsaw Cup, 2016 CS Tallinn Trophy, and 2016 International Cup of Nice. It is unclear who designed his costume for the Grand Prix of Figure Skating last month.