Anger over ‘racist yellowface’ Snapchat filter

Snapchat's 'Yellowface' filter in actionImage copyright
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Snapchat appears to have removed its controversial filter, which many condemned as ‘racist’

A controversial new Snapchat face filter has drawn outrage from thousands of users describing it as a “racist” caricature of East Asians.

Dubbed “yellowface” by angry users, it contorted facial features and gave users the appearance of slanted eyes.

Snapchat said the filter had already been removed and would not return to circulation.

The social media app, one of the most popular in the world, has come under fire before over its lenses.

Critics often accuse it of favouring white complexions with filters that lighten users’ skin tones.

Its “Bob Marley” filter, which added animated dreadlocks and a cap, was also criticised for promoting “blackface”.


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Despite its history of courting controversy, the app remains highly popular among social media users

‘Racist filters are not cute’

“This anime-inspired lens has already expired and won’t be put back into circulation,” Snapchat said in an official statement on Wednesday.

“Lenses are meant to be playful and never to offend.”

But many Snapchat users were still not satisfied and took to social media to call the company out for “promoting racist Asian stereotypes”.

“Stop it, Snapchat, this is not okay. This Yellow Face filter is not cool,” tweeted actress and celebrity blogger Latrice Butts, who shared a snap of the filter.

Other users like Tansu Philip, reported that they had deleted the app over the filter. “Racist filters are not cute,” she said.

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The lens even drew users to make comparisons with US Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump.

“Racist taste in black and yellow filters. Snapchat must be Donald Trump supporters,” wrote Californian Mike Udem on Twitter.

“Yellowface is never playful,” said Reid Robinson in New York City. “Love you Snapchat but you’re acting like Trump – clearly racist and with the maturity of a third grader.”

Reporting by the BBC’s Heather Chen.



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