Petition urges retailer to pull 'Lion-Killer Dentist' costumes


Halloween costumes are already creating controversies, more than two months before Oct. 31.

A petition currently circulating the web is calling for an online retailer to remove a costume that critics say mocks and profits from the July 1 killing of Zimbabwe’s beloved Cecil the Lion.

Minnesota Dentist Walter Palmer has admitted to killing the 13-year-old lion, saying he regrets killing such an important animal but notes he paid Zimbabwe guides to secure all the permits and help him track the lion, which led him to believe the hunt was legal.


The “Lion Killer Dentist” costume, which comes with a bloody white smock, bloody gloves and a lion head mask, is available for $99.99 on costumeish.com.

Doreen Harley, who generated the Care2 petition, said the retailer had agreed to pull the costume if she gathered 25,000 signatures. As of Thursday afternoon, the petition had 36,544 signatures. 

The retailer, a division of Brands On Sale, Inc., says on its website that it will donate 15 percent of all proceeds from the costume to a "Wildlife Foundation."

"I was sick to my stomach when I saw the costume," Harley said in a news release. "The costume is in bad taste and makes light of what was a tragic and inhumane killing.”

A Caitlyn Jenner Halloween costume has also become controversial this year.

Critics say the costume, which mimics the outfit Jenner wore for the Vanity Fair cover, mocks the transgender community.

A petition on change.org that has 10,430 signatures asks Trisha Lombardo, head of public relations for the costume chain Spirit Halloween, to stop exploiting Jenner with the “transphobic costume.”

The petition says making fun of transgender people is insensitive and deplorable, especially at a time when transgender women, particularly black transgender women, are being murdered at a high rate.

According to a CNN report, the retailer said it has no intention of pulling the costume. The Caitlyn corset set retails online for $49.99, and the Caitlyn wig for $16.99.

Company Spokeswoman Lisa Barr told CNN in an email that Spirit Halloween creates a “wide range of costumes that are often based on celebrities, public figures, heroes and superheroes.”

“Caitlyn Jenner is all of the above and our Caitlyn-inspired costume reflects just that,” she said.