Costumeish, the Southern California-based costume retailer behind several heavily criticized ensembles of Halloweens past, has just released a “Parisian Heist Robbery Victim Costume Kit.” For $69.99, it includes a long black wig, white robe, sunglasses, a gag, a rope and a ring – which is “not worth $4 million dollars,” according to the description.
It does not mention the reality TV star by name; however, it does refer to “America’s goddess of all things glamorous” and “the Queen of Social media.”
That doesn’t mean Taylor Swift.
On Tuesday, Costumeish tweeted that it had removed the costume from its website “due to extensive out-lash.” “We are sorry if it offended anyone,” the tweet says.
Due to the extensive out-lash we have decided to remove the “Parisian Heist” costume from our website. We are sorry if it offended anyone.
— COSTUMEISH (@costumeish) October 11, 2016
“She devoted her life to promoting American decadence, youth, and hedonism but all that flashy living caught up with her one night in Paris when armed men bound her, stole her jewelry and her peace of mind,” the Costumeish description says. “This Halloween have some fun with pop culture and dress just like the Queen of Social media with our sensational ‘Parisian Heist Robbery Victim Costume’ Costume.”
Although the company’s website boasts several supportive reviews, including one that called it “the costume of the year,” the retailer’s attempt at keeping up with Kardashian has drawn intense criticism from some online reviewers, who have called it “a mockery” and have said it’s “promoting rape and anti-female culture.”
“Here is yet another example of people blaming women for being victims,” one person wrote on Costumeish.com. “Many men wear expensive watches, necklaces, etc. and robbing them is still considered a crime. Treat it as such. Having a gun put to your head by multiple men while you fear that they may rape you is traumatizing. I’m pretty sure that the poor human being can’t forget any second of the attack and here you are using her scarring events to make money. This is disgusting. It is not funny.”
On social media, the company was scorned for trying to profit off Kardashian’s misfortune.
Johnathon Weeks, vice president of Costumeish, told Buzzfeed News that he was upset that critics were not seeing the humor.
“I’m sad that people are offended by it, but it is Halloween. It’s one day out of the year,” he said. “Halloween should be a light-hearted, spirited party, and people should be able to laugh at it and think it’s funny. We haven’t sold any yet, if that matters.”
He added: “If people find it tasteless or they are offended by it, it’s Halloween. Maybe you should just shut your life out and not go outside.”
Last year, Weeks told Time that Costumeish uses search-engine data to determine which Halloween costume searches are popular with consumers, all the better to better tap into retail trends. At the time, the company had just introduced its “Lion Killer Dentist Halloween Costume,” which came with a bloody smock and gloves and a severed lion’s head, according to Time.
“Cecil was coming up, and just like with many of the other ones, like the Ebola or the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge costumes, we see the trend from users,” Weeks said. “Halloween is a really tricky day, and you see some of the costumes come about and it’s almost like desensitizing things.”
Weeks added that he did not intend to offend anyone. “I’m just here to keep things questionable,” he said. “We’re just in the very beginning of this Halloween season. There’s more to come.”
This year, Costumeish is selling several in-the-news get-ups – including a “Donald the Wall Builder Halloween Costume.” That one depicts Donald Trump in a red-brick suit, with an American flag.
Donald the Wall Builder Costume for Halloween? #Halloween. #DonaldTrump #Costume pic.twitter.com/L9JU1qMbSa
— COSTUMEISH (@costumeish) September 24, 2016
Another Trump-themed costume portrays the Republican presidential candidate as aMexican-style taco.
“… a taco truck on every corner in America!” the description states.
As word of the Kardashian costume spread, supporters said that creative mockery was exactly the point.
“Ordering this as we speak,” a reviewer wrote on Costumeish website. “Thank you for maximizing my schadenfreude this Halloween.”
“Finally something for all of us who are sick of having a certain family pushed forcefully down our throats,” another wrote. “Iconic.”