San Francisco, California – The San Francisco-based, upscale retail store Pottery Barn has apologized for selling a Halloween costume of a sushi chef and a kimono that an Asian American Civil Rights group had complained were culturally offensive. The retailer confirmed that it had removed the items from its website, saying it did not mean to offend anyone with the Halloween attire.
Asian American civil rights activists spoke out after the store began selling the products, a kimono and a sushi chef outfit featuring the Rising Sun of the Japanese flag. The activists demanded the immediate removal of the clothing and requested an apology, saying that the problem is not with the attire itself; it is with the fact that Pottery Barn is marketing these outfits as costumes.
Following the announcement by Pottery Barn, other groups also began demanding that retailers like Walmart, Walgreens, Target, K-Mart, Amazon.com and HalloweenCostumes.com remove clothing items from their Halloween inventory:
Texas Governor Rick Perry and governors of other Southwest states asked the retail outlets to remove cowboy hats from their shelves; the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops demanded that businesses stop selling nuns’ and priests’ habits; and a group representing the Irish community in New York City asked that the sale of kilts be banned during Halloween season. A South Asian activist group in Berkeley went a step further by petitioning the city to shut down stores selling the Indian sari during the entire Halloween week. In San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee appealed to drag queens to wear only race-neutral dresses on Halloween night.
The protesting groups joined in the chorus by saying that their traditional attires are not costumes; rather, they represent cultures and religions. To market the clothing items as Halloween costumes is offensive and can trigger racial or religious violence, they claimed.
Meanwhile The Adobo Chronicles learned from reliable sources that there is a growing movement in many U.S. liberal states that aims to abolish the Halloween holiday altogether. “This way, no one will ever be offended again by costumes that mock countries, peoples and religions,” the movement’s spokesperson said.