Cecil the lion costume sparks outrage

This image released by Costumeish shows a man holding a fake lion head while dressed as a dentist, a costume referring to the Minnesota dentist who who killed Cecil the lion. The Halloween wars over pop culture costumes heated up early this time around. Petitions and social media outrage are flying over a blood-spattered dentist's smock paired with a Cecil-like lion head, along with a replica of Caitlyn Jenner's joyful lingerie outfit for her coming out on the cover of Vanity Fair. (Costumeish via AP)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – An Indiana woman is spearheading a petition to remove a controversial costume from an online store, made after the killing of a popular lion.

With Halloween around the corner, WISH-TV showed some Hoosiers the costume that some might be wearing.

“To walk around with a beheaded lion in your hand, that’s too much,” Fishers resident Shad Morgan said.

It’s of a dentist, covered in blood, holding a lion’s head. The outfit was created after an American dentist, who traveled to Africa, and killed Cecil the lion.

“I mean it doesn’t surprise me in any way shape or form,” Fishers resident Robert Barnett said.

It was also too much for animal rights activist Doreen Harley.

“I think it’s mocking the illegal hunts and the poaching that happening in Africa to hundreds of animals a day,” Harley said.

Harley decided to take action. From her Indianapolis home, she started a petition to get Costumeish to remove it.

The goal was 25,000 signatures. As of Monday, there are more than 70,000.

“Every time I open it, it’s up at least 100 or so signatures and it’s going to keep growing,” Harley said.

Despite the growing outcry, the company isn’t backing down, and sent WISH-TV a statement, saying in part:

Halloween is a day that anything goes for offensiveness. If you want to dress up like a bloody dentist holding the head of a lion, that’s your choice, and a petition trying to stop people from dressing up from whatever they choose like Ms. Harley’s is just another way of somebody trying to take away freedom of expression and our first amendment.”

The company also plans to donate all of the profits, saying that 100 percent of the profits will be donated to a National Wildlife Foundation of its choice.

Despite the donation, Harley hopes the company will eventually drop the controversial costume.

“I’ve picked and choosed my battles and this is my battle I chose to pick,” Harley said.

The costume isn’t cheap. The online site is selling it for about $140. A costume isn’t doesn’t feel is any different from the others.

“Parents dress their babies up as the Devil and nobody says a word? What’s worse than the Devil?” said Johnathon Weeks, of Costumeish.

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