Two visitors to the Dragon Con fantasy and sci-fi convention in Atlanta, Georgia, sparked anger over the weekend with cosplay outfits that seemed to depict the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.
The pair were dressed in matching cardboard skyscraper costumes, with crepe paper ‘flames’ at the top of each, and attached dolls ‘falling’ from buildings. They both wore Donald Trump campaign-style caps – albeit with the slogan ‘Make FishCenter Great Again,’ a reference to an Adult Swim comedy programme.
Dragon Con, “one of the largest pop-culture conventions in the world” according to its organisers, plays host to 70,000 visitors each year at Augusta’s Peachtree Centre.
Images of the duo were widely shared on social media and on Reddit, where they provoked angry responses.
So wrong & inappropriate! More than just a cosplay fail, it's foul. Cosplaying as the Twin Towers 9/11 = Disgusting pic.twitter.com/1dIphxArkX
— Alex Matsuo (@alexmatsuo) September 5, 2016
@Kevind04 The best information I can provide is that pretty much the entirety of Peachtree Center Mall were highly shocked and/or disgusted.
— Kimsynth @ DragonCon (@mrkimchinim) September 5, 2016
No joke, I just saw two people cosplay the Twin Towers on 9/11. #DragonCon
— Billy Wheltle (@BillytheTeen) September 3, 2016
However, one commenter on Facebook denied that the outfits were intended to represent the World Trade Center. “There is a Japanese anime that centers around two buildings that are being burned by demonic wraiths and during the climax, the victims in the buildings jump to their deaths,” said Kurt Kessler.
Another commenter responded: “It doesn’t matter. Cosplay as something else from the anime. They know what it looks like.”
In 2013 a nightclub in Chester came under criticism by giving top prize in a Halloween fancy dress contest to two women dressed as the blazing Twin Towers.