A Kentucky medical center is making all employees attend diversity training after an employee showed up to the annual costume party wearing a mask of President Obama and a straitjacket.
The man appeared with two “security guards,” who were also costumed employees, and performed a skit titled “VIP Special Delivery.”
Although the Obama impersonator won third place in the party’s costume contest, the vice president of human resources at Jennie Stuart Medical Center was less than pleased upon seeing a photo of the event. Now, the center is requiring that all employees — about 750 people in total — complete a sensitivity-training program.
The vice president sent an apology to the staff, and claimed responsibility for the incident. He also ordered that employees not wear costumes with political, racial or gender-based themes.
One local pastor told WZTV, which originally reported the story, “I think it is very, very offensive. And really, that shouldn’t have happened.”
Meanwhile, TIME Magazine has reported major backlash this season against costumes that offend females and minorities. Pottery Barn has stopped carrying costumes of kimonos and sushi-chef uniforms, which are deemed inappropriate by Asian American civil rights groups.
“Our problem is not with the attire itself; it is with the fact that Pottery Barn is marketing these outfits as costumes,” stated Ling Woo Liu, director of strategic communications for Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
Wal-Mart has pulled a costume of a beard and turban that looks like Osama Bin Laden, and has also stopped selling a “Naughty Leopard” costume for toddlers after complaints that the outfit sexualized children.
In the United Kingdom, Tesco and other stores have stopped offering “Psycho Ward” and “Mental Patient” costumes after complaints that the garb offends people with mental illnesses.
Many consumers have also lodged complaints about an overly girly “Marvel Spider-Girl” costume that trades the superhero’s usual spider-man-like wardrobe for a pink skirt and go-go boots.