Twitch has seen its fair share of controversy, including body-painting slip ups, livestreamed porn, and more - but one streamer’s use of racially charged makeup is stirring up outrage across the internet.
Lithuanian Twitch streamer Karina ‘Karupups’ Martsinkevich caught flak for her cosplay of Apex Legends’ Lifeline, but not without cause - the cosplayer’s ensemble included a generous heaping of blackface makeup, which she applied during a live broadcast in mid-April.
Karupups’ stream soon garnered backlash across social media, with users decrying her change in skin tone even while her broadcast was live.
Uh.. HELLO POLICE?
— Big Boss | Balvin $5000 (@LordBalvin) April 13, 2019
Banned for using blackface
The streamer was later banned from the platform, which many attributed to her use of blackface.
This development appeared to be confirmed by Russian news outlet DTF, which claimed that Karupups had received a 30-day ban for "incitement to hatred towards a person or a group of people."
Karupups' response to her Twitch ban
Karupups herself called the cosplay “nothing but an image,” claiming that her viewers had been “interested” in her cosplay as she created the outfit on stream.
“It was just an image, nothing more,” Karupups reportedly said of the debacle. “There was a big online, the guys asked how I dyed my hair, how make-up felt on my face, etc. They were interested. And in fact, many of those who threw the reports, then wrote to me in the Discord, they say, get a ban, we tried…”
Controversy throughout the cosplay community
Karupups’ cosplay even saw responses from within the cosplay community at large, with popular costumer ‘Kayyybearxo’ speaking out on the issue in a lengthy series of Tweets.
“Some people don’t seem to understand why painting your skin darker is wrong,” she explained. “Being black isn’t a costume you can wear when you want. At the end of the day, you can wash off your face paint and never have to deal with anything that real [people of color] have to deal with.”
Some people dont seem to understand why painting your skin darker is wrong. Being black isnt a costume you can wear when you want. At the end of the day, you can wash off your face paint and never have to deal with anything that real POC people have to deal with... :shrug::skin-tone-4:♀️
— kay bear :bear_face: (@kayyybearxo) April 14, 2019
Kayyybear herself created a Lifeline cosplay that went viral in early March; however, her take on the character also received some unpleasant vitriol, with angry users harassing the cosplayer for creating a ‘lewd’ version of the support legend.
Kayyybear likewise went under fire for her Jill Valentine cosplay in early April, for which she received a plethora of racist comments - prompting her to speak out on the matter with an encouraging post despite the hate.