A show that's all about baking is in the spotlight for something unsavoury after a damaging photo of one of its stars, Paul Hollywood, surfaced over the weekend.
Hollywood, who is best known for judging gourmet treats on The Great British Bake Off, says he's "absolutely devastated" after a British tabloid unearthed photos of him and his friends dressed up as a Nazis.
The picture, published on Sunday by The Sun, depicts Hollywood smiling while wearing a Nazi uniform at a themed New Year's Eve party in 2003. According to The Wrap, Hollywood said partygoers were told to dress up as characters from TV comedies and that his look was based upon General Von Klinkerhoffen from the BBC series 'Allo 'Allo.
Hollywood apologised on Sunday by posting a statement to his fans on Twitter.
"I'm absolutely devastated if this caused offence [sic] to anyone...Everyone who knows me, knows I am incredibly proud of the efforts of those, including my own grandfather, who fought against the Nazis during the war."
Hollywood made an appearance on the BBC show Who Do You Think You Are? back in 2015 where he reportedly dove into his grandfather Norman Harman's history as an anti-aircraft gunner during World War II, The Wrap reports.
Though the photo was taken 14 years ago, it's hard not to feel put off by an image of someone proudly donning a uniform that represents the same kind of hatred and bigotry that compelled groups of neo-Nazis to swarm various parts of the country over the summer, including Charlottesville, where 32-year-old counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed for demonstrating against violence.
However, a quick search online showed that some people disagreed, arguing that people should be able to wear whatever they want as costumes without having to worry about the reaction from "PC morons."
While I wish Hollywood had never dressed up as a Nazi — even if that Nazi was a character from a popular TV show — his costume kicks off a necessary conversation right as Halloween season begins: Just because you can dress up as something/someone doesn't mean that you should.
Hollywood may not have intended to offend anyone, but the point is, he did.
As Vocativ noted in a 2015 video, dressing up as a Nazi seems to "[make] light of the Holocaust" and downplays the suffering of the millions of people who were killed. As neo-Nazis and white supremacists march with tiki torches through college towns yelling things like "blood and soil" and "Jews will not replace us," it's clear that the hatred Hollywood downplayed is still very much alive.
Talking about reasons why certain costumes are offensive can be uncomfortable or daunting, so if you're looking to learn more about why it's best to avoid culturally insensitive outfits, here's something from the Refinery29 archives that should help.