Some Snapchat users are complaining the app’s latest feature is offensive or downright racist.
The photo-sharing app on Wednesday added a new face-alerting filter meant to make users look like late reggae legend Bob Marley. The filter adds a Marley-style cap, dreadlocks — and darkens users’ skin tone.
That has some people complaining that the Snapchat filter is effectively a form of digital blackface.
Snapchat’s choice to release the Bob Marley filter on Wednesday could be related to 4/20, which is considered an unofficial marijuana holiday. The performer was known for his penchant for the drug and his family has licensed the Marley name to a brand of marijuana. However, the 4/20 tradition developed in California, not Marley’s native Jamaica.
A Snapchat spokesperson released the following statement on the filter:
“The lens we launched today was created in partnership with the Bob Marley Estate, and gives people a new way to share their appreciation for Bob Marley and his music. Millions of Snapchatters have enjoyed Bob Marley’s music, and we respect his life and achievements.”