How Did Snapchat Think This Yellowface Filter Was Acceptable?

Snapchat came under fire once again for racial insensitivity when it debuted a lens intended to mimic anime features but instead appeared to depict yellowface.

After facing backlash for its Bob Marley filter, Snapchat appears to have made the same mistake only a few months later—the company debuted an “anime-inspired” filter with slit eyes, a pale complexion, and buck teeth.

Unmistakably evocative of yellowface—the racist way in which white performers in the early 20th century depicted Asian-Americans—Snapchat users were quick to voice their displeasure on Twitter.

“What the HELL is up with this yellow face filter? Racist filters are not cute. Wtf are you doing? Deleting,” one user wrote.

According to Mashable, Snapchat responded by removing the filter and issued a statement, although it was not particularly apologetic: “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."

Snapchat was similarly dismissive of concerns over blackface with its Bob Marley lens. “Millions of Snapchatters have enjoyed Bob Marley's music, and we respect his life and achievements,” the company stated at the time. "[The lens] gives people a new way to share their appreciation for Bob Marley and his music."

This newest caricature of Asian people is not a great move by the company that should undoubtedly be more attuned to racial concerns following their previous controversy.

Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters

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