Snapchat Had to Pull a 'Yellowface' Filter Because People Were Not Happy
Mere months after causing outrage over a similarly offensive filter (the Bob Marley 4/20 filter), Snapchat has incurred the wrath of its users by enabling what many perceive as a yellowface lens.
The term “yellowface” is used for a non-Asian person using makeup or clothing or, thanks to Snapchat, a filter to create a cruel caricature of stereotypical Asian features.
@Snapchat @snapchatsupport idk if u realize, but this filter is yellowface and u should take it down pic.twitter.com/MLSHz0Bbkl
— hpic (@limb_light) August 9, 2016
Snapchat told The Verge that the filter was “inspired by anime and meant to be playful.” The filter has been taken out of rotation due to the response.
.@Snapchat wanna tell me why u thought this yellowface was ok?? pic.twitter.com/sgpW4AFPsE
— grace (@tequilafunrise) August 9, 2016
As we reported in April, Snapchat made a similarly cringeworthy instant-blackface effect using the image of Bob Marley — the late Jamaican reggae superstar and ambassador of peace and Pan-Africanism — as a celebration of 4/20. While Marley did believe in the legalization of ganja, it seemed an oddly reductive decision.
As does the decision to create an “anime-inspired” filter that recalls superoffensive, but sadly still prevalent stereotypes. From Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to the way the Long Duck Dong character in 16 Candles was written, stereotypes about Asians have been played out on the big screen for years, and they have now sadly moved to our handheld devices, as one Twitter user shrewdly pointed out.
me before and after using the snapchat yellowface filter pic.twitter.com/BEdKdUO72J
— alex (@steven_lebron) August 10, 2016
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