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Snapchat removes racist yellowface selfie filter after criticism

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Written by Salih SARIKAYA

Snapchat removed yellowface filter  after outraged users said online that it was racist.

Just four months after causing outrage over a similarly offensive selfie lens, Snapchat has incurred the wrath of its users by enabling what many see as, effectively, a yellowface lens. According to Mic, users called out the social platform on Twitter yesterday, saying the lens caused people’s faces to look like racist Asian caricatures.

While Snapchat has a number of lenses that morph users’ faces into dogs and monsters, this lens does recall offensive, decades-old stereotypes about Asian people’s faces, particularly the shut eyes. (Remember Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s?) Several users snapped and tweeted their outrage before the lens was taken down:

For its part, Snapchat tells TheVerge that the lens was inspired by anime, and was meant to be playful. (Though there are plenty of clearer ways anime characters express playfulness other than with shut eyes and rosy cheeks.) It has since been taken down and won’t be put back into circulation.

‘The filter was anime-inspired’

Snapchat faced a similar backlash in April after enabling a Bob Marley filter to celebrate 4/20 and weed culture. Though the lens, which attempted to put the late singer’s visage and dreadlocks onto users’ faces, was sanctioned by the Bob Marley Estate, many saw the lens as disrespectful and tantamount to blackface.

 

 

About the author

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Salih SARIKAYA

Digital Sociologist and Journalist #DigitalSociology • New Media, Marketing and Branding Consultant based in Houston, TX. Speaker & Author of 2 books. Founder of @DigitalReview_

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