ISU pulls Auschwitz costume from awards ceremony after backlash

Figure Skating - ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating - 2019 Internationaux de France - Patinoire Polesud, Grenoble, France - November 2, 2019   Russia's Anton Shulepov in action    REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot
Russia's Anton Shulepov (Credit: REUTERS)

After facing criticism, the International Skating Union (ISU) has reversed its decision to nominate a costume made up of Auschwitz uniforms at its awards ceremony.

The costume, worn by Russian Anton Shulepov, was called “irresponsible and offensive” and was criticised when it was worn during the Internationaux de France in November.

Despite the criticism, the costume, which featured elements of prisoner and guard uniforms from Auschwitz in a free skate program to the theme from Schindler’s List, received the nomination originally but has since been pulled after further outcry.

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The costume was included on a shortlist for favourites worn and fans were invited to vote for their favourite.

The ISU claims that the wrong costume was put up, with the intention being to nominate a different costume worn by Shulepov during a different program.

In a statement released by the ISU, it said: “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 apologises for this mistake and the bad sentiments it has caused.”

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In a separate statement, from Jonathan A Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, he said: “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.

“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.”

More than one million Jews were killed by the Nazis during the Second World War at Auschwitz.

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