A mother in Brazil is apologizing after being met with backlash over an ill-advised costume she crafted for her 9-year-old son.
Sabrina Flor shuttered her Instagram account Tuesday hours after posting photos of her child dressed as a slave, covering the boy in brown body paint from head to toe. The getup was reportedly for a costume party hosted by the child’s private school in the northeastern city of Natal, according to Daily Mail.
In an Instagram statement attributed to her, Flor insisted she never meant to offend anyone and rebutted critics’ claims that she’s a racist. Her apology did little to quell the fierce outrage, however.
The apology, written in Portuguese, reads in English translation: “I just wanted to apologize for the fact! It has never been my intention to offend anyone, I am extremely sorry for everything that has happened,” a translation of the statement reads. I feel VERY wrong with the horrid curses and threats that they are sending me. Apologies to all, from the bottom of my heart! #Peace.”
Flor’s tone-deaf Halloween costume featured her son with a collar around his neck, while a long plastic chain bound his neck area and his hands. A set of shackles was also wrapped around one of the boy’s ankles as he stood dressed in nothing but a white towel on his head and a white cloth covering his lower half.
Flor’s creativity didn’t stop there. In a nod to Brazil’s racist past, the mother went so far as to use special makeup to create welt marks on her son’s chest and back, making it appear as if he’d been whipped by a slave owner.
“When your child takes on the character! Let’s make this thing Brazilian,” Flor wrote in the caption, making light of the offensive costume.
Not only was the costume deemed racist, but has conjured bitter memories of the South American nation’s dark history of slavery. An estimated 4 million enslaved Africans were kidnapped and brought to the country as part of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in the 15th century century, importing the largest number of slaves in the world. It wasn’t until 1888 that Brazil abolished slavery — the last country in the Western Hemisphere to do so.
According to Brazilian news site G1, law enforcement officials, as well as a federal child welfare agency, have since launched an investigation into Flor and her offensive costume choice. Authorities began their investigation Tuesday and said they plan to question Flor, hoping she’ll provide a good explanation for the getup.
Colegio CEI, where her son attends school, issued a statement condemning the costume and noted that it doesn’t condone any practices that promote slavery.
“Unfortunately, the choice of the costume for participation of Halloween, made by the student’s family, touched on a historical wound of our country,” the private school said.
The photos are the latest in a string of instances of folks dressing in blackface for Halloween. Earlier this week, a London man was confronted over his racist costume depicting Samuel L. Jackson’s character in the 1994 film “Pulp Fiction,” while a woman in Missouri was fired from her nursing job after posting a photo of herself dressed as Beyoncé.