The Origin of the Snapchat Yellowface Filter

If you haven’t heard, Snapchat’s PR team is working overtime after the company released its “yellowface” filter. It doesn’t even make your face yellow. It just scribbles lines over your eyes to make them squinty and makes it look like you have buck teeth. Like an Asian.

Snapchat is receiving well-deserved heat for this. And right after their recent misstep of a Bob Marley filter no less. Everyone is expressing their own version of this outrage, but not a lot are talking about how this filter even made it through. I’m here to fix that. Below, I’ve faithfully recreated the conversation that lead to this filter’s existence.

Evan Spiegel: Hey, I got an idea for a new lens. Can you get on this right away?

Snapchat designer: Sure thing, boss!

Spiegel: I want a filter that can make your face look funny.

Designer: Like putting hipster glasses and a mustache on someone?

Spiegel: No. Funny. Like those Asians.

Designer: Uh… I’m not sure I understand.

Spiegel: Squinty eyes. Small mouth. Buck teeth. Disney-fied cheeks. Asian!

*A few hours later, the designer reluctantly shows off his creation*

Spiegel: Wow! Perfect!

Lone Asian in office: I don’t… I don’t think that’s culturally sensitive.

Spiegel: *Turns camera to face* *Enables filter* Ching chong ching chong ching chong. OMG! Look! I’m you! It’s scary how accurate this thing is. People are going to eat this s**t up. Put it live!

Snapchat PR: Evan?

Evan Spiegel shrugged his shoulders and continued to play touch butt with Miranda Kerr on his yacht after telling PR to issue a generic press release.

“This anime-inspired lens has already expired, and won’t be put back into circulation,” Snapchat said when asked to comment. “Lenses are meant to be playful and never to offend.”

This was about as anime as Fisher Stevens from Short Circuit was Asian.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments