As Halloween approaches and it becomes time, once again, for all of us to consider that some costumes are just not ever appropriate to wear, Great British Bake Off host Paul Hollywood has given us the perfect example. Recently, a photo of the reserved, tough GBBO judge was published in UK newspaper The Sun showing him dressed in a Nazi officer costume.
— The Sun (@TheSun) September 10, 2017
One would think dressing like a Nazi would be pretty clearly off limits, and yet, here we are. Hollywood has since explained that it was a themed New Year’s Eve party in 2003, and he was dressed not as an actual Nazi but as General Von Klinkerhoffen, a Nazi character on the BBC comedy series ‘Allo ‘Allo.
Hollywood also posted a statement on Twitter that is a classic non-apology. “I’m absolutely devastated if this caused offence to anyone,” Hollywood wrote. “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.”
What Hollywood doesn’t acknowledge in his apology is how dressing in that sort of costume, regardless of the occasion, makes light of the tragedies that arose at the hands of the Nazis, most notably the Holocaust. It’s incredibly damaging to the people who survived that horrible time, some of whom are still alive today. Furthermore, Hollywood’s comment that the photo was taken 14 years ago is a bit odd because even then, all the way back in 2003, we as a society still regarded dressing as a Nazi in any context a bad thing.
Hollywood needs to make a genuine apology that shows he recognizes those facts, and not just that he feels bad that people on the internet are mad at him. For now, his reputation as a respected cook and TV show host hangs in the balance.