MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Madison Children’s Museum has fired a Wisconsin man with cognitive disabilities after he wore an Adolf Hitler costume over the Halloween weekend.
The museum said the man believed he was making a mockery of the Nazi Party’s leader when he wore the costume on a busy street near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus on Saturday. He was fired Tuesday night, after his costume was condemned on social media and by some news outlets, including the Jerusalem Post.
The museum said in a statement that it fired the man after it “determined that his continued employment would create an environment at odds with our values and unwelcoming to visitors and staff.” The statement said the man’s costume was “completely unacceptable” and that the museum stands against antisemitism, bigotry and discrimination.
The museum also said the man has cognitive disabilities due to a traumatic brain injury and that his work over the last decade has been supervised.
“It is our understanding that he believed his costume to be mocking Hitler,” the statement said.
The Madison Police Department called the costume “offensive and reprehensible,” but said wearing it was not a crime. Police said they told the man about the concerns his costume raised.
The man’s mother told the Wisconsin State Journal that her family wants privacy as they work with professionals on “this sensitive matter.”
Museum President & CEO Deborah Gilpin did not immediately return an Associated Press message seeking further comment Wednesday.
StopAntisemitism, a group that documents antisemitic acts, tweeted that the man’s costume was “nauseating.” UW Hillel, an organization that supports more than 4,000 Jewish students at the university, also denounced the costume, saying “our community cannot stand for this behavior.”