A popular video game streamer and cosplayer has been banned from streaming site Twitch after blacking up on stream.
Karina ‘Karupups’ Martsinkevich, who is white, made and put on a costume for black Apex Legends character Lifeline, and had died her hair to match — but ran into trouble when she started applying thick brown make-up to match her skin tone.
The Lithuanian streamer drew rapid condemnation online for her antics.
“It’s f***ing 2019. this is ridiculous” said one Twitter user encouraging others to report her.
Advocacy group Black Girl Gamers summed up the disbelief by just saying “What in the…” while sharing a picture of the cosplay creation in progress.
Their followers were quick to respond with outrage, with many pointing out that it is perfectly acceptable to cosplay as characters of different races but that the make-up crossed a line.
“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 POC people have to deal with,” explained one popular black cosplayer, who goes by Kay Bear.
The outrage was followed by her account being rapidly suspended by the Twitch moderation team, at which point Karupups carried on the stream on YouTube.
She later deleted the video from YouTube, where her account is still active, and posted a video attempting to explain her actions.
She confirmed that she had been banned for a month for “incitement to hatred towards a person or a group of people.”
She apologized to anyone who “felt pain” as a result of her actions, saying “I made a mistake because I didn’t have enough information.”
“It was just for fun – I just wanted to change into my favorite legend,” she said, before saying that in Lithuania there is not much education around issues such as the history of blackface, and its racist nature.
Twitch has historically been much swifter to issue bans for inappropriate behavior and language than other platforms, and has a small army of human moderators who take the lead in enforcing its terms of service.
Elsewhere in gaming, there is news of a new Xbox due to be revealed this week, a trailer and first look at Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order as well as news that the PS5 and Xbox 2 might be the last games consoles you ever need to buy.
This story originally appeared in The Sun.