Snapchat Criticised Over Racist Yellowface Filter

Snapchat yellowface TwitterMessaging app Snapchat has been accused of racism over the release of its latest selfie lens – the second time this has happened this year.

Like the rest of Snapchats selfie lens, this overlays a different set of features onto the users face. But rather than adding dog ears or flower petals, like other lenses, it gave them cartoonish squinted eyes, red puffy cheeks and accentuated front teeth – features associated with racist caricatures of East Asian people.

The overall effect has been described as yellowface by users on Twitter, a reference to the make-up historically used by white performers portraying an Asian character. Now, with that practice having thankfully died out, the term is used more generally to describe any racially offensive caricaturing of Asian people.

Snapchat defended itself to The Verge, claiming that the lens was inspired by anime, and was meant to be playful, but quickly removed it from the app.

Its reminiscent of the similarly controversial Bob Marley filter introduced – and, again, quickly removed – by Snapchat back in April, which darkened the skin tone of lighter-skinned users, as well as adding dreadlocks and a Rastafarian cap, in an attempted resemblance to the Jamaican reggae singer.