Nurse sacked from her job after posting 'blackface' Beyoncé Halloween costume photos online

Nurse sacked from her job after posting 'blackface' Beyoncé Halloween costume photos online

Halloween is supposed to be a time when people explore their creative side and wow us all with their cool costumes, but there are some people who take it too far. Halloween is supposed to be scary and spooky, not bigoted and offensive. Sadly, not everyone seems to get that, and racist costumes are apparently still a thing, even in 2018.

If you want an example of this kind of controversy then look no further than the case of nurse Shelbi Elliott-Heenan. Elliott-Heenan, who hails from Kansas City, Missouri nurse, shocked and appalled social media users this week with her racist Beyonce costume, in which she and her partner appeared at a party wearing blackface.

Elliott-Heenan worked at Saint Luke’s East Hospital in Lee’s Summit, and after the pictures of her offensive Halloween outfit, and her friend's equally-racist Jay-Z outfit, were made public, she was summarily fired from her position. The pictures were first noticed by Facebook-user Lynese Sade, who immediately complained to the hospital about the images. Elliott-Heenan's contract was terminated shortly afterwards.

An image of nurse Shelbi Elliot-Heenan's Halloween costume. Credit: Facebook

Commenting on the incident, Laurel Gifford, senior director of media relations for Saint Luke’s, stated: "Information was shared with appropriate health system personnel and an investigation was initiated immediately ... While it is against Saint Luke’s policy to comment on specific personnel matters, we can confirm that this individual is no longer a Saint Luke’s employee. Saint Luke’s is deeply committed to our culture of diversity and inclusion. It is fundamental to who we are as an organization and we vigorously protect it on behalf of all our patients and employees and expect those who represent us to do the same."

Social media users didn't mince words when it came to condemning Elliott-Heenan's costume. On Facebook-user wrote; "Play stupid games. Win stupid prizes.  If she doesn’t have the common sense to know that blackface is racist, how can she be trusted to treat each patient equally?  Don’t do Blackface. And if you have to (and you really shouldn’t) at least be smart enough to NOT TAKE A PICTURE AND POST IT ON YOUR OWN PAGE!!!! [sic]"

However, some people went so far as to defend the couple's choice of costume. One disgruntled commenter wrote: "Maybe Beyoncé was one of her favourite peeps. Wow. This world is so sad So white people can only dress like white people. Black people only like black people. Where does it stop?"

Recently, a white man in the United Kingdom who was dressed as the character of Jules Winnfield, was also shamed for wearing blackface on public transport. Blackface has a long history as a cultural practice in the western world, and was used to perpetuate stereotypes about Afro-Carribean people. Guys, seriously I don't think this is a particularly complex issue: blackface clearly makes people uncomfortable and upset, so just don't do it, okay?