Project Anti-Disguise
  September 22, 2004 01:59 PM
October 24, 2002
Unmasking Hate at Halloween, AL -- The Kung Fool costumes, which were shipped beginning in September to retail giants like Wal-Mart and Party City, aren't the first blunder for Disguise. In 2001, the company came under fire for a "mental patient" costume that the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill called "demeaning, dehumanizing and humiliating." Disguise has agreed to accept returns from stores carrying the Kung Fool costume until October 30, but spokesman Chris Wahl said the company cannot require retailers to actually do so. "Once they purchase the merchandise, it's their merchandise," said Wahl. Some Asian American groups, however, say the company is essentially "passing the buck" to stores and should take a more proactive stance in getting the merchandise back. ...Read more

Posted by Elbert Oh at 08:48 PM Takes on Culture Vultures A harrowing Halloween could very well have become an Asian American nightmare, if not for the grass-roots activism from the people behind This watch group calls itself "an online community portal dedicated to the cultivation of a collective Asian political and social consciousness."...Read more

Posted by Elbert Oh at 08:41 PM
October 22, 2002
Editorial: How to treat a mean trick
The Sacramento Bee: A petition was posted on the Web at, a Los Angeles-based site that bills itself as "a news and political portal dedicated to helping Asians kick ass." The site lived up to the description....Read more

Posted by Elbert Oh at 08:52 PM
October 21, 2002
Racism Comes in Costume for Trick or Treat
Gil Asagawa, Nikkei View -- "How could anyone think it wouldn't offend Asians?"...Read more

Posted by Elbert Oh at 12:51 AM
October 19, 2002
Asian organizations fight against discrimination: Costume maker recalls Kung Fu mask
Sing Tao Daily, Hong Kong -- Asian organizations accused San Diego-based costume maker Disguise, Inc., of discrimination because their Kung Fu-style mask, which Disguise, Inc. put on the market this September in time for Halloween. ...Read more

Posted by Elbert Oh at 12:55 AM
50 protest; costume called offensive
San Diego Tribune, CA -- About 50 people demonstrated in front of the headquarters of Disguise Inc. in Poway yesterday, protesting a costume some Asian-Americans have branded as racist. ...Read more

Posted by Elbert Oh at 12:47 AM
'Kung Fool' racist, activists say
Lansing State Journal, MI -- "...national Asian-American groups are demanding a full mask recall, after the manufacturer on Wednesday offered only to reimburse retailers who decided to return the costume. An Internet political organization called said a coalition had collected thousands of petition signatures demanding that San Diego-area costume maker Disguise Inc. recall the mask by Friday or face legal action."...Read more

Posted by Elbert Oh at 12:33 AM
Costume Controversy
WILX-TV (Michigan): Wal-Mart did not return News 10's phone call as to why the costume was in stock originally. While some Wal-Mart shoppers didn't see what all the fuss was about the costume, Disguise Inc. says they will no longer be selling it to retailers....Read more

Posted by Elbert Oh at 12:27 AM
Poway distributor shelves 'Kung Fool'
San Diego Tribune: "That was one of the popular ones to try on," said Steven Pilcher, an employee at the Wal-Mart in Vista. "Everybody would take out the mask and play with the mask. They laughed at it and thought it was funny." Pilcher said he didn't think the costume was in bad taste. "They weren't trying to be offensive, they were just trying to be funny," he said. "They got (costumes of) hobos, which are mostly white people. They're not pulling those yet." ...Read more

Posted by Elbert Oh at 12:20 AM
October 18, 2002
Asian Americans Protest Offensive Costume

Local Company Issued An Apology

SAN DIEGO -- A group of Asian Americans are protesting against a North County costume manufacturer for a mask they consider highly offensive.

The group says they are angry over a controversial Halloween costume known as "Kung Fool" made by Disguise Incorporated in Poway.

The costume includes a mask with slanted eyes and oversized buckteeth.

A spokesperson for a Chinese American organization says the costume perpetuates harmful stereotypes of Asian Americans.

Disguise has issued an apology and asked retailers to return the offending outfit.

Posted by Elbert Oh at 01:25 AM
'Kung Fool' Costume Generates Complaints
Columnist Richard Prince -- Asian Americans are understandably offended by such "ching-chong-chinamen" imagery, used so consistently throughout history to marginalize our community, but non-Asians, I think, should be similarly disturbed and offended, since this is a product marketed to children. ...Read more

Posted by Elbert Oh at 12:45 AM
Protest swiftly rids stores of offensive costume
Hampshire Gazette, MA -- "We got e-mail saying 'immediately pull from the sales floor all Kung Fool costumes,' said manager Ben Armstrong. He estimated their original shipment was a dozen Kung Fool costumes. "It doesn't look to me like we sold many. We pulled eight." Tom Williams, a spokesman for Wal-Mart in Arkansas, said Thursday afternoon, "We found it out and pulled it. We issued a recall ourselves. It's significant when we send something out to all 2,800 stores." ...Read more

Posted by Elbert Oh at 12:40 AM
Costume protests heeded in O.C.
The Orange County Register: The Kung Fool controversy comes six months after Abercrombie & Fitch pulled T-shirts with slant-eyed figures in conical hats under the slogan, "Wong Brothers Laundry Service -- Two Wongs Can Make It White." Asian-American groups protested, saying the T-shirts were racist. Karen Shibe of Anaheim said she felt compelled to sign the online petition against the Kung Fool costume. "I couldn't believe it," said Shibe, 40. "I was shocked that something so obviously offensive didn't raise any red flags throughout the different levels of people at the company."...Read more

Posted by Elbert Oh at 12:18 AM
October 17, 2002
"Kung Fool" costume pulled off the market
Sacramento Bee: "We understand it's supposed to be humorous, but basically, you're putting someone down," says Allen Hoang, one of many Sacramento-area residents who joined an online petition (, demanding that Disguise recall the costume. By Wednesday afternoon, nearly 5,000 names had been gathered. Hoang, a field representative for Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, says he and many other Asian Americans were taunted when growing up by children imitating slanted eyes and buck teeth. The costume only encourages that, he says....Read more

Posted by Elbert Oh at 12:14 AM
Bucktoothed Halloween mask bites the dust
San Francisco Chronicle: Kaisie Lee, 23, a Lafayette resident, helped spearhead the grass-roots campaign at to remove the mask. The OCA, National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium and other groups joined in protest. To Lee, the mask perpetuated the racism her grandparents experienced when they emigrated from Hong Kong during the 1950s. "I always learned from my parents that for Asian Americans to gain rights we had to fight for it, that it would not be handed to us," said Lee, a law student at USC. ...Read more

Posted by Elbert Oh at 12:12 AM
Costume Maker Sorry for "Kung Fool"
Associated Press: In protest of the costume, the Asian-American news Web site started an online petition drive. "Asian-Americans don't want to be Halloween masks," said Elbert Oh, founder of the site. ...Read more

Posted by Elbert Oh at 12:05 AM
October 21, 2001
Right there in Poway, disguises by the millions
North County Times: "One of the great things about this company is that we're having a lot of fun making the product," Coppens said last week. "People here are wearing the costumes all the time and getting into character." He then put on a mask, showing a baffled expression on the face of a martial arts warrior, and jumped into a karate stance. "We call it Kung Fool," Coppens said, speaking through the rubberized face. ...Read more

Posted by Elbert Oh at 12:23 AM
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