Project Anti-Disguise
  September 22, 2004 01:59 PM
October 17, 2002
"Kung Fool" costume pulled off the market

By Will Evans
Sacramento Bee

A San Diego-area manufacturer announced Wednesday that it will discontinue a controversial Halloween costume after charges of anti-Asian racism.

Poway-based Disguise Inc. also issued an apology and is allowing retailers nationwide to send back supplies before Oct. 30.

Many people found the costume, "Kung Fool" -- called a "comedic parody" by its manufacturer -- to be offensive. It consists of a black-and-white kimono and a mask with squinty eyes -- one of them blackened -- and big buck teeth. Adult sizes were being sold for $25 to $34 in stores and on some Web sites.

"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 (petition.yellowworld.org), 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.

Disguise released a statement apologizing to anyone who was offended. "No insult or offense was intended against any race, ethnicity or individual by the sale of this product," it said.


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