Snapchat is facing backlash for introducing a feature that some users are calling racist and insensitive.
The social media app debuted a new “Bob Marley” lens on Wednesday, just in time for every marijuana-lover's favorite holiday: 4/20.
The filter digitally inserts dreadlocks and a rastacap on to the photo’s subject. It also significantly darkens the subject’s skin tone.
Reality star Kylie Jenner was among many Snapchat users to use the lens.
Many Snapchat users took to other social media outlets throughout the day, comparing the lens to blackface and calling it insensitive to Marley’s memory.
— Casey Johnston (@caseyjohnston) April 20, 2016
How many more times will racism be brushed off for entertainment or amusement?
— ℳ (@QMVIA) April 20, 2016
Bob Marley was an activist against racism & bigotry who promoted peace, love & happiness.
Not the face of some stoner holiday.
— Sean Twick Romano (@SeanTwick) April 20, 2016
BoB Marley stood for more than just weed ...
— B.o.B (@bobatl) April 20, 2016
This Bob Marley snap filter is disrespectful to his legacy. @Snapchat
— OXTAIL GAWD (@ThatDudeMCFLY) April 20, 2016
Snapchat defended the feature in a statement to Wired, saying the lens was created in partnership with the Bob Marley Estate.
“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.”
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.