It was a Halloween blunder to put blackface in the shade. Two British students donned costumes of unprecedented stupidity last week during a fancy dress competition in northern England.
The pair of university students have drawn universal condemnation since a photograph showing them dressed as the Twin Towers burning in the midst of the 9/11 attack was splashed on the front of the Sun newspaper in London on Wednesday.
The horrifying costumes included flames bursting from the buildings and tiny falling figures which appeared to represent some of almost 3,000 people who lost their lives that day. Rather than condemn the replica buildings at the time, the DJ overseeing the event at a nightclub in the city of Chester awarded the girls with the $240 first prize.
Amber Langford and Annie Collinge, both 19, were shown celebrating their win in a now infamous picture, but they began to realize the scale of their mistake when confronted by the British tabloid. “We never meant to be offensive, but we apologize if any offence was caused,” they told the Sun. “The idea was to depict a serious, modern-day horror that happened in our lifetime and was not intended as a joke.”
Martin Langford, whose daughter Amber is studying biology at the University of Chester, said he was appalled by the costumes, which were particularly galling since he was a pilot in the U.S. at the time of the 9/11 attacks. “I didn’t know anything about it, but I’m not happy at all,” he said. “She knows I’m a pilot and that’s not cool at all. We will be having a little chat, I think.”
Collinge is also enrolled at the University of Chester where she studies sociology. The university and its student union issued a joint statement to “utterly condemn the appalling photos.” “Both organizations have begun an urgent investigation with a view to taking the necessary action,” they said.
The owners of Rosies nightclub in Chester also apologized on Wednesday for hosting the event that celebrated the costumes. “We are extremely concerned that an award of vouchers was made to two young women who were dressed in a distasteful and offensive manner,” a spokesman for the Stonegate Pub Company said. “There was a serious error of judgment made on the evening by a contracted DJ to award such a prize, and we apologize to anybody who may have been upset or offended by this. A full investigation by the company is taking place.”
Facebook users left messages on ++the club’s page++ remonstrating with organizers. Ashley Goodall wrote: “That’s not even Halloween that’s just a very bad joke, not like you’d walk around America like that.”[https://www.facebook.com/rosies.r.chester]