The Internet exploded with outrage on Oct. 25 when Keith Olbermann exposed an Instagram photo of two adults imitating suspended Baltimore Raven’s running back Ray Rice and his wife Janay Rice. “zacritter,” an Instagram user, posted the photo of his parents in what he believes is the “best Halloween costume ever.” Both his parents are in blackface, smiling brightly, and his mother has a black eye to portray a beaten Janay.
The Rices have been embroiled in a public scandal involving domestic abuse since TMZ released a disturbing video of the NFL star striking his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator. Rice was initially punished in July with a two-game suspension for the incident, but that penalty turned into an indefinite suspension from the league on Sept. 8 after the graphic video went viral.
Once a celebration of crafty costumes and trick-or-treating, Halloween has become familiar for the flood of topical but offensive costumes that often make their way online. Last year, actress and “Dancing with the Stars” contestant Julianne Hough made the thoughtless decision to dress up in black face and a prison jumpsuit, allegedly impersonating the character “Crazy Eyes” from the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.”
Zacritter’s parents are the latest to participate in what’s becoming an unacceptable tradition of tasteless costumes that are hurtful to the people and communities they portray. In Mrs. Rice’s response to a TMZ article about the hateful costumes, she tweeted, “it’s sad, that my suffering amuses others”.
With over half a million followers on Twitter, Olbermann’s fans sent him more horrifying examples of children and adults impersonating the Rices. There’s still one week left to rethink your costume, and no reason to make light of others’ real-life tragedies.