Mr. Rogers is one of the most wholesome childhood figures in history. He encouraged kindness and compassion to everyone and was generally just a really lovely—and universally loved—entertainer and human being. Perhaps that’s why the fact that there’s now a Sexy Mr. Rogers Halloween costume is so jarring and utterly offensive.
Sold by Yandy.com, the “Nicest Neighbor” costume comes complete with “a red top with a V-neckline, long fitted sleeves, a white detachable collar with a black necktie, and matching high waisted gray shorts with belt loops.”
Or, a pair of booty shorts, a cropped and extremely low-cut cardigan, and a weird tie. It is, in a word, terrible.
The costume has understandably received a considerable amount of backlash, especially because Mr. Rogers was literally one of the purest, least “sexy” figures out there. It’s a children’s TV program, for God’s sake—why do we need to sexualize it?
Someone made a sexy Mr Rogers costume we are all doomed https://t.co/iD6KXdcE5v
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) September 18, 2019
In a statement to USA Today, Yandy’s director of brand marketing, Alicia Thompson, responded to the criticism by insisting that the “goal at Yandy is to create costumes that are sexy, fashion-forward and lighthearted.”
NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. DO NOT WANT.https://t.co/9yD9jkmxew
— 961 KISS (@961KISS) September 20, 2019
“We don’t take ourselves too seriously and neither do our customers. We know Halloween is a time to dress up, have some fun and also be sassy. Yandy shoppers are witty, smart and don’t shy away from a bit of snarkiness, which makes them all the more sexy, in our opinion.”
Even the model who dons the costume on the Yandy website had nothing but positive things to say about it when TMZ caught up with her and asked her thoughts.
“As soon as I saw the costume, I knew there was going to be people who loved it, there were going to be people that hated it, people that just judged it. But I think it’s getting blown out of proportion,” Dessie Mitcheson said.
Can't believe they made a Sexy Mr. Rogers costume when Mr. McFeely was RIGHT. THERE.
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) September 20, 2019
“Mr. Rogers was all about being nice and people are being pretty mean. I think the nicest people are always sexy. I mean I thought of his more as a father figure I guess than a sex symbol. But everyone loves Mr. Rogers.”
Permission for me to drop kick anyone I see wearing a sexy Mr. Rogers costume on Halloween?
— Kelley Belle (@kelleymicheley) September 23, 2019
TMZ also reported that Fred Rogers’ son, John, claimed that his dad wouldn’t have minded the costume because he had a good sense of humor. He admits that it’s “silly” and “ridiculous” but that his late dad would have had a laugh about it.
the Sexy Mr. Rogers costume is the universe’s way of punishing me for looking for bulge when he’s in his swimming trunks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood
— Steve Venner (@steve_venner) September 19, 2019