The International Skating Union has issued an apology after it allegedly accidentally nominated a Holocaust-themed outfit for a best costume prize at its upcoming awards ceremony.
The outfit in question was worn by Russian figure skater Anton Shulepov, and featured elements of prisoner and guard uniforms from Auschwitz, a Nazi concentration camp in which more than one million people were killed during World War II.
Shulepov, 23, skated to the musical theme of Holocaust-set movie Schindler’s List while wearing the costume, which featured a yellow Star of David and stripes. He wore the outfit first in November at the Internationaux de France, and again later that month at a competition in Japan, according to NBC News.
The ISU drew heat when the costume was included among more than 50 others in the best costume category, one of four different categories for the upcoming ISU Skating Awards.
“I am truly shocked at the inclusion of anton shulepov’s free skate costume in the best costume list,” Twitter user @viewofsilence wrote. “It is irresponsible and offensive. The horrors of genocide is not entertainment. Remove it immediately.”
The ISU apologized for the inclusion on Monday, but claimed that the costume had been nominated by mistake and that they actually meant to include a different outfit worn by Shulepov.
“The ISU regrets that by error the wrong costume (Free Skating instead of Short Program costume) of Mr. Shulepov has been presented for voting,” the statement read. “This error has been corrected and the ISU sincerely apologizes for this mistake and the bad sentiments it has caused.”
The ISU regrets that by error the wrong costume (Free Skating instead of Short Program costume) of Mr. Shulepov has been presented for voting.
This error has been corrected and the ISU sincerely apologizes for this mistake and the bad sentiments it has caused.— ISU Figure Skating (@ISU_Figure) December 2, 2019
The nominated outfit for Shulepov currently listed features him wearing a dark turtleneck and pants.
The ISU’s apology was met with skepticism from critics who questioned the nomination of such a simple outfit.
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“I sincerely doubt you meant to reward a black turtleneck, but regardless of your intent in nominating Shulepov, he shouldn’t be allowed to perform in the FS costume. This goes beyond ‘bad sentiments’ or appropriation, it’s turning genocide into cosplay and you’re validating it,” Twitter user @hilary__b wrote.
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Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, also responded on Twitter, writing: “Shulepov’s evocation of painful Holocaust imagery in his routine was insensitive ' offensive. It’s also shocking the @ISU_Figure initially posted a picture of this costume as a nominee for ‘costume of the year,’ and then issued a wholly inadequate apology.”
The ISU did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
The incident and its subsequent outcry echoed that of a similar Holocaust-themed skating routine, which came courtesy of Olympic figure skating champion Tatiana Navka in 2016.
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Navka — the Russian wife of Vladimir Putin’s press secretary — and her partner wore striped uniforms with gold Stars of David on a Russian ice dancing reality TV show.
The pair portrayed Jewish prisoners in concentration camps as they skated to “Beautiful That Way,” a song popularized in the Oscar-winning Holocaust film Life Is Beautiful.