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STATE STREET | CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

Man who wore Hitler costume for Halloween fired from job at Madison Children’s Museum

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A man who drew national attention and condemnation for wearing an Adolf Hitler costume on State Street was fired from his job at the Madison Children’s Museum on Tuesday night.

“The organization has determined that his continued employment would create an environment at odds with our values and unwelcoming to visitors and staff,” the museum said in a statement.

On Monday, museum officials said the man’s costume was “completely unacceptable and runs counter to everything the museum believes.” The statement continued, “We stand against antisemitism and all forms of bigotry and discrimination.”

Statements from the Children’s Museum and Madison police said the man has cognitive disabilities.

“His work with the museum over the past 10 years has been closely supervised, coached, and supported. It is our understanding that he believed his costume to be mocking Hitler,” the museum said in the statement.

The man’s mother told the Wisconsin State Journal on Tuesday that she’s grateful for the statements by the Madison Children’s Museum and Madison Police Department.

“We asked for privacy as we work with professionals on this sensitive matter,” she said. The State Journal isn’t naming the man because he hasn’t been charged with a crime.

The costume the man wore Saturday night got significant attention over the weekend on social media and by news outlets, including the Jerusalem Post.

The Post article included a tweet by StopAntisemitism, a group that documents antisemitic acts, with two pictures of the man in his costume.

“We are nauseated to see a man has dressed up as Adolf Hitler to celebrate Halloween at the U. Wisconsin Madison,” StopAntisemitism tweeted.

UW Hillel, a community center for more than 4,000 Jewish students at UW-Madison, also decried the costume in a statement.

“The glorification of hate, fascism and antisemitism is disgusting and an assault on the memories of all those who died in World War II and in the Holocaust; our community cannot stand for this behavior,” the organization said.

Madison police said they took “a variety of reports” about the costume, but while acknowledging the outfit was “offensive and reprehensible,” it was not a criminal offense, the department said in a statement. Police said they made contact with the man on Sunday, talked to him about his conduct and informed him of “the issues that he caused in our community.”

The man lives in the Madison area but is not a UW-Madison student, police said.

The museum’s statement said that its staff still hopes to engage the man in a restorative justice process “that would redress the harm done to the community while allowing him to understand the effects of his actions and accept accountability.”

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