Offensive Halloween costumes have become de rigueur on the candy-gifting holiday, but one photo of two white guys from Florida dressed as Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman might just be the most offensive ever. One of the guys was done up in blackface and had a big red spot on his chest, a la the 17-year-old Trayvon post-shooting. The other guy — apparently in the role as Zimmerman — had “Neighborhood Watch” printed on his t-shirt, his hand shaped like a handgun pointed at blackfaced man’s head.
The photo, as the New York Daily News reported Oct. 28, was posted on Facebook and Instagram. It didn’t take long for outraged comments to come pouring in.
Still, even with the photo being offensive on several levels, an added insult to the injury was a posting (via The Global Grind) by 22-year-old Greg Cimeno (“Zimmerman”) in answer to a comment stating that the Halloween costumes weren’t funny: “Not too funny. It’s f***ing hilarious!!!”
The two men — and apparently the woman as well, since she originally uploaded the photo — said they were just having some harmless fun.
The Daily News identified the other male in the photo as 25-year-old William Fillene.
The Smoking Gun broke the story Sunday, posting the offensive photo uploaded by Caitlin Cimeno, the woman who was seen in the center of the pictured trio.
The Trayvon Martin story captivated the nation after the 17-year-old was shot and killed on a rainy night in Feb. 2012. A 28-year-old Neighborhood Watch member named George Zimmerman was the shooter and claimed self-defense via Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. It wasn’t until the story gained national exposure that Zimmerman was arrested and charged with a crime. Ultimately, Zimmerman was tried and acquitted of second-degree manslaughter and manslaughter in July 2013.
As for offensive Halloween costumes, tasteless ideas are fairly common, but if some thought the Miley Cyrus MTV VMA Twerking outfit was bad, they’ve most likely upgraded their idea of just how tasteless some can be when it comes to dressing up for Halloween. Actress Julianne Hough received a bit of backlash for going out in blackface. And a two women showed up at a kids Halloween function in Michigan in what some thought inappropriate costumes — white garbage bags over black clothes, the words “White Trash” written on the bags.
All of which begs the question: How far is too far on a night (or at a party, as the case may be) given to pranks, mischief, and trick-or-treating? And what does it say about the wanton disregard for the feelings of others — like the family and friends of Trayvon Martin, not to mention George Zimmerman — who might see such an insensitive photo posted for all the world to see on social media sites?