Things That Matter

Students From Northern Arizona University Have Gone Viral For Their Wildly Offensive Halloween Costumes

Halloween is that time of year when adults are able to shed their inhibitions and experience the same costumed fun and excitement they did as kids. Unfortunately, some take this holiday to inappropriate and hurtful places with their costumes. It seems that no matter how much attention is brought to this problem, we inevitably experience it year after year. Rather than go as their favorite fictional character, we see far too many people dressed in customs that promote cultural appropriation or that are inspired by offensive jokes.

Sure enough, before Halloween was even over, Twitter exposed one instance of this disappointing costume trend.

Twitter / @groovyk8

On October 29th, Katie Stiff shared a set of pictures on her personal Twitter account that she saw on Instagram. The photos show a group of five young adults dressed in scruffy clothing and dirty faces, carrying various signs. One such sign reads, “Immigrant mother of 10 ⁠— anything helps!” The others advertise a pregnant 16-year-old, a veteran with cancer, a college drop out and a recovering alcoholic. It’s clear from their costumes and the content of their cardboard signs that the group is dressed up as negative portrayals of homeless people. 

The offensive photos originated from the account of a freshman student at Northern Arizona University. Stiff, who is a recent graduate of the university, saw the post on October 28th. According to an interview with the Phoenix News Times, she first thought that the costumes were a form of protest — a commentary on how society views marginalized and low-income people. 

Stiff reached out to the person responsible for originally posting these pictures and asked what the meaning behind their costumes was.

Twitter / @lilythetigerr

In screenshots provided to the Phoenix News Times, the NAU freshman responded to Stiff’s inquiry by saying that the controversial looks were “actually just last-minute costumes for a party.” Hoping to facilitate a conversation, Stiff responded to the comment, “Yikes…I’m sure harm wasn’t your intention, but I would definitely reflect on how this could present as a lack of regard for human suffering.”

When Stiff didn’t receive further comment from the college freshman or any of the other adults tagged in the pictures, she decided to take the images to Twitter. 

Twitter/ @Tuesday_elias

Though Stiff’s Twitter account only had about 100 followers at the time, the post quickly went viral. It now has nearly 8K retweets and 17K likes. Speaking to the Phoenix News Times, Stiff explained why she feels costumes like these are so hurtful and offensive to so many. 

“It’s the collective outrage,” she shared. “It was hard to see how hurt people were by it and see comments like ‘this made me cry,’ or ‘this made me sick to my stomach.’ I thought by 2019 we’d be to the point where people weren’t wearing offensive costumes like this. Wearing these things that inherently target underprivileged people, veterans, immigrants, young mothers, it’s not okay. It’s not just a costume. It’s a statement.”

Twitter had several issues with the costumes and was quick to voice them.

Twitter / @Cartersmommi_

Many comments pointed out that it typically isn’t immigrants who are seen panhandling or begging for money. While there’s no shame in these actions, they are very looked down upon. Traditionally, immigrants hustle to find employment ⁠— working several jobs at a time ⁠— both providing for their families and helping to dismantle the negative stigma around migrants. 

Others expressed that these costumes could have worked ⁠— had they actually been meant as a type of protest. 

Twitter / @Bary_d19

This tweet suggested that the group should have collected money instead of candy and donated the funds to a local shelter or another worthy cause. Had these costumes been a form of protest, they would have made a powerful statement. Immigrants, veterans, college students, young mothers and those with chronic diseases are all marginalized groups that are condemned for supposedly not adding value to our society. Bringing attention to that via their costumes would have granted them props. Instead, the group thought it was clever to support stereotypes at the expense of others. 

It didn’t take long for Northern Arizona University to issue a statement concerning these costumes and the viral response to them. 

Twitter / @NAU

NAU President, Rita Cheng, responded to Stiff’s initial post by issuing a comment on the nature of the costumes. 

“The recent post by NAU students has been taken seriously,” she tweeted. “We involved the Dean of Students & Office of Inclusion. The students recognize the seriousness of their actions & apologized. NAU values & supports free speech. Speech demeaning to others does not represent our values.”

The official NAU Twitter account retweeted Cheng’s statement and double-downed on their commitment to free speech but not speech that is demeaning and disrespectful. 

As of now, it doesn’t seem that the students will be held responsible by the school for their offensive costuming. Be that as it may, it’s still our responsibility to call out racism and classism where we see it. If major institutions won’t punish this behavior, social media shaming is the best way to continue the conversation.

JetBlue Issued An Official Apology After One Employee In Florida Dressed Up As A Hurricane Maria Victim

Things That Matter

JetBlue Issued An Official Apology After One Employee In Florida Dressed Up As A Hurricane Maria Victim

@nats248 / Twitter

Every Halloween, we have the misfortune of reporting on how white people still don’t understand that culture, poverty, and other races are not costumes. JetBlue has recently issued an apology after one of its employees at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport showed up to work in a homeless Hurricane Maria refugee for Halloween. With tattered hair, makeup smeared across her face, and ripped disheveled clothing, the woman carried a cup for change and an offensive sign. It read, “Homeless, Need help trying to get back home to Puerto Rico or Cuba.”

According to one Twitter user, the costume “sparked controversy” at the airport, offending both employees and travelers alike. The Twitter user decided to take to the Internet to gather public opinion, tweeting, “This was the costume of a JetBlue employee at the airport in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I want to read your opinions.” Needless to say, the employee has been adequately roasted by Latinos everywhere, JetBlue has issued an apology, and has told NBC News that “the situation was immediately addressed.” 

Immediately, people took offense to the idea of dressing up as a Hurricane Maria refugee.

Credit: @nats248 / Twitter

“It seems fatal to me. It doesn’t matter if she didn’t say Cuba or Puerto Rico,” one offended Twitter user said in Spanish. She went on to say, “Many people don’t care about the homeless because they think they “asked for it,” but that is the sad reality of life. So many don’t care or respect the pain or difficulties of others.” Another Latino commented, “This IS offensive. Not because the name of my country is there, that only reflects their ignorance. But the issue of being homeless is too delicate and it is not funny at all to not have a roof, food, or clean clothes … but that’s just me.”

Meanwhile, Florida has become a hub for displaced Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria decimated the island.

Credit: @nats248 / Twitter

One woman took offense to the degrading imitation of the immigrants “who created and are the basis of this country.” Another woman suggested that the staff be given some sensitivity training regarding the community they serve, actual Cubans and Puerto Ricans. “Not sure if they know but thousands of people lost everything due to Hurricane Maria,” tweeted another dissenter. “For this JetBlue employee to think it’s OK to joke about the epidemic of homelessness in Puerto Rico and the U.S. is sickening and completely unacceptable. That’s NO JOKE.”

Another Latina was absolutely incredulous that a JetBlue employee actually “showed up to work in this racist and highly offensive ‘costume.’ People’s hardship and suffering should not be mocked like this.”

Then, the Twitter trolls infiltrated, calling Latinos “snowflakes” and “virtue signalers” for taking offense at the costume.

Credit: @dhock47 / @greciamaria / Twitter

We’ll spare you some of the more pointedly racist remarks. One user defended the costume, wondering out loud to a group of Latinos if, “maybe she couldn’t afford an expensive store bought costume, so she used what she had.” She went on to say, “I was a gypsy practically every year growing up, I’m sure that’s offensive too these days!” 🦗🦗🦗

Someone else jokingly pointed out that the costume is a fail because there is zero bandera pride. 🇵🇷🇨🇺

Credit: @ElGeorgeRiveraR / Twitter

“It grates me because a true homeless Boricua would have the flag, even if it was painted on their teeth,” tweeted Mr. Rivera. The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York reported that more than 135,000 Puerto Ricans fled the island for the mainland United States within six months after Hurricane Maria made landfall. Nearly 57,000 of them moved to Florida. Puerto Rican homelessness is no laughing matter. Hurricane Maria made significant, generational impacts on Puerto Ricans. Whether the JetBlue employee decided to take on that traumatic event as a weak pander to vacation on the Caribbean island, or if she truly was so ignorant that we cannot find reason for her costume, commenting Latinos are largely “furious.”

Others are demanding that JetBlue actually “leave her jobless to find the joke in her ‘costume.'”

Credit: @dominopr777 / Twitter

“Shame on @JetBlue and their management for not sending this employee home as soon as they saw this highly inappropriate & insensitive ‘costume’. SHAME!,” commented one user. Jetblue has not responded to the tweet that set the public roasting in motion. Jetblue’s manager of corporate communications, Derek Dombrowski, emailed NBC News to issue an apology: “In the spirit of Halloween, our crew members are welcome to celebrate in costume, but one crew member chose a costume that was clearly insensitive and not in line with our costume policy. The situation was immediately addressed, and we apologize to anyone who was offended.”

While JetBlue has apologized for the offense, folks still want to know how the employee was “immediately addressed.”

READ: This Latina’s Chanclazo Costume Has Us All Terrified And Really Made Halloween A Time To Remember

Two Women Thought It Was A Good Idea To Dress Up In KKK Robes And Parade Themselves Around Black People

Entertainment

Two Women Thought It Was A Good Idea To Dress Up In KKK Robes And Parade Themselves Around Black People

Why In 2019 Some People Would Think That A KKK Costume Or A Bloodied And Bruised Makeup Look Are ‘Cute’ Is Above Us

Bella Thorne Angered Her Followers For Bloodied And Bruised Halloween Selfies: ‘Stop Glamorizing Domestic Abuse’

Bella Thorne’s Bruised And Bloodied Selfies And Two Women Dressed Up As KKK Members in DTLA Riled Up The Internet This Halloween

Just when we thought we’d made it through this year’s Halloween season without any inappropriate or problematic Halloween costumes, Bella Thorne posted her look on Instagram. A lot of the actress’ followers were offended by her makeup, saying that it looked too similar to a domestic abuse victim. And in Downtown L.A., a group of Hispanic women thought it was ok to dress up as KKK members until people snatched their hoods off. Here’s what went down. 

Bella Thorne wanted to show off her makeup skills in a bloodied and bruised look —but instead, was dragged by her followers.

Instagram @bellathorne

Before unveiling her actual Halloween costume as a sexy Girl Scout, Bella Thorne took to Instagram to show off her makeup skills by posting a photo of herself looking bruised and bloodied. Looking like someone had punched her in the face, the actress captioned the series of three photos with: “Hire me for your Halloween makeup I got you boo 🔪🔪🔪 😂😂😂.”

The actor riled up her followers who were quick to assume she’d been hurt.

Instagram @bellathorne

Although the caption made it pretty clear that she hadn’t actually been hurt, many of her followers said the pictures were jarring and worrying. One wrote: “My heart dropped. I immediately got angry that someone hit you. This is uhhh fkn scary.” Another added; “Almost said, are u okay, lol.”

Her followers called the actor out for ‘glamorizing’ domestic abuse.

They also called Bella out for “glamorizing” domestic violence and said it should never be used for aesthetic purposes. Some commenters said: “Why is glamorizing being physically abused culturally appropriate during Halloween?”, “I feel this is too close to physical abuse, you’re crossing a fine line here.”

“That’s kinda insensitive to real victims of DV.”

“I’m just sickened and so disappointed in you. What a platform you have…and misuse it like this. Sickening, Bella.”

The actor is known for her wild, bold and colorful looks —hair and makeup included. The photos posted on October 30, featured a cut lip and bruises on her jaw and eye.

Instagram @bellathorne

Commenters thought her makeup would be triggering to those who have experienced abuse in their own lives. Bella has previously spoken out about her own struggles with physical and sexual abuse in the past, so it’s surprising to see her showcase such a makeup look. 

As part of the Time’s Up movement, Bella Thorne spoke up about her own experience of sexual and physical abuse as a child last year. 

Instagram @bellathorne

“I was sexually abused and physically growing up from the day I can remember till I was 14..when I finally had the courage to lock my door at night and sit by it,” she wrote on Instagram. “All damn night. Waiting for someone to take advantage of my life again. Over and over I waited for it to stop and finally it did. But some of us aren’t as lucky to get out alive. Please, today stand up for every soul Mistreated. #timesup”

Bella went on to debut her actual Halloween costume on Instagram the following day and has yet to respond to comments regarding her previous post.

And speaking of insensitive and problematic costumes, these two Hispanic women in DTLA thought that dressing up as KKK members would be funny —until it wasn’t.

Twitter @tariqnasheed

A group of Hispanic women dressed as Ku Klux Klan members in downtown Los Angeles, on Halloween night and roamed around town, sparking outrage and alarm. Videos of their costumes were shown in several social media posts. One clip shows a woman telling the cloaked person to take her hood off until someone finally snatches it off her head. 

One of the women who confronted the insensitive trick-or-treaters took to Facebook to share a post about how things went down.

Racist women get KKK mask snatched off them and ran out of DTLA #share #Melaninispowerful“THIS SHIT ISN’T FUNNY”“Oh so you thought this was funny”I’m not a bully nor am I a killer but this type of shit needs to stop, before somebody gets killed or we start a riot as people. Last night Two Mexican women walked down the streets of LA wearing KU KLUX KLAN outfits thinking shit was funny and “allegedly trying to scare ppl” so we snatched their mask off and had a little conversation… this isn’t just disrespectful to black ppl but all people who fought for our rights this is disrespectful to our people my people your people(to The women). “The same people you two are supporting is the same folks supporting deportation of your ppl and your walking #DTLATo “scare people” “ she goes on to say “I am right and I should be mad” that’s the moment I could’ve and should’ve knocked her ass out but unfortunately we would’ve been the ones behind bars for being black in America and fighting the same fight out ancestry fought, we didn’t put our hands on them, we took those mask off and kindly escorted them out of LA.. We didn’t do this for clout, we did this to for our respect ✊ don’t play like this ppl of America cause this generation isn’t gonna let that shit go down!#racist #melaninispowerful #love #energy #bestfriendgoals #trumpsupporters indigenous justice is environmental justice

Posted by Ashley Williams on Saturday, November 2, 2019

“I’m not a bully nor am I a killer but this type of shit needs to stop before somebody gets killed or we start a riot as people. Last night Two Mexican women walked down the streets of LA wearing KU KLUX KLAN outfits thinking shit was funny and “allegedly trying to scare ppl” so we snatched their mask off and had a little conversation,” wrote Ashley Williams, one of the people who confronted the women about the disrespectful costumes. 

“This isn’t just disrespectful to black ppl but all people who fought for our rights this is disrespectful to our people my people your people (to the women). The same people you two are supporting is the same folks supporting deportation of your ppl…”

The video compiles a few clips of what went down and how the two hooded women were confronted by a small mob of people.

The nearly two-minute-long video posted to Twitter shows the two women standing on the sidewalk as a mob of people try to take their hoods. Later on they try to enter a smoke shop as everyone around them booed. “Don’t ever wear that sh*t in your life,” said the female rapper Shatown Johnson to the hooded woman. “You’re right,” replied the woman in the ridiculous costume after being confronted. 

Why these women thought it would be cute or “funny” to dress up as Klan members for Halloween? Who knows! But just like Facebook user Ashley Williams put it on her post: “Don’t play like this ppl of America cause this generation isn’t gonna let that shit go down!”