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Snapchat scraps ‘yellowface’ filter after racism complaints

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(Image credit: @tequilafunrise)

Snapchat has pledged to keep a contentious new ‘yellowface’ filter out of circulation after users condemned it as racist.

The controversial selfie lens changed a user’s appearance to fit East Asian appearance stereotypes, including slanting their eyes and enlarging their two front teeth. The filter has now been removed, but users are still flooding Twitter with complaints about the filter.

Users harkened the lens as akin to virtual “yellowface”, which is the practice of Caucasian people altering their appearance to approximate East Asian facial characteristics. It’s a problem that’s plagued Hollywood historically, and has largely been phased out in the film industry, along with “blackface”.

In response to the complaints, Snapchat issued the following statement: “This anime-inspired lens has already expired, and won’t be put back into circulation. Lenses are meant to be playful and never to offend."

But Snapchat’s response has done little to assuage user concerns:

Snapchat faced similar criticisms of racism earlier this year, after the app’s creators rolled out a Bob Marley filter that some described as a digital “blackface”.

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Do you think Snapchat was wrong to roll out its ‘anime-inspired’ lens? Let us know in the comments.

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