Beauty blogger Vika Shapel is facing harsh criticism online in response to a racially insensitive game she attempted to start on YouTube and has since apologized.
In a photo posted to her Instagram, the white blogger and a friend covered half of their faces with chocolate to deepen the color of their skin. Although Shapel referred to it as “the chocolate challenge,” people have been calling it out as blatant blackface.
“Something fun is coming to YouTube, idk if there is a challenge like this but we haven’t seen it so Im calling it the chocolate challenge!” Shapel captioned the photo. “Come watch us transform into deep chocolate skin tones from our pasty pale.”
The photo was soon re-posted by YouTuber Arnell Armon, who pointed out the offensive nature of the picture — something that Shapel didn’t catch on to, though the rest of the Internet has. Armon’s post has aggregated more than 70 replies from angered followers, as well as a post by critic Jasmine Brown.
“This ‘challenge’ doesn’t exist because people have common sense,” Brown tweeted. “The disrespect…”
Yahoo Beauty spoke to Shapel about her initial thinking behind the video idea and the reaction she has received.
“I simply wanted to see how I looked in a deeper skin tone,” Shapel said. “I wasn’t aware of the whole black-face concept before people began commenting it on the photo. I would like to apologize to people that were hurt or offended by my post, and it won’t happen again.”
Meanwhile, some on social media haven’t been shy about expressing disappointment in Shapel, while pointing out the extra lengths that the blogger went to mimic a black appearance.
Numerous Instagram users and YouTube subscribers went to Shapel’s social media accounts to report the blogger’s photo and video, but they came to find that she had deactivated her accounts.
As for when she’ll be back online, Shapel told Yahoo Beauty: “My accounts were deactivated due to overwhelming hateful responses. I wasn’t an active social media user before; it was just whenever desire sparked, so whenever I have that, then I will come back.”
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