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Broadcaster dons blackface on an official Overwatch South Korea stream

During a stream earlier today on the official South Korean Overwatch channel, one member of the broadcast team applied Doomfist-style makeup to fellow caster Kim ‘Binbon’ Jin Young. That included not just the hero’s signature white markings, but a layer applied the whole face meant to resemble the characters dark skin. In short, it’s blackface.

In strictest terms, blackface is a type of makeup used predominantly in the 19th and early 20th centuries by actors to portray caricatures of black people. The practice is so closely associated with mockery and racial stereotyping that any form of makeup meant to make somebody look like a race they’re not is typically seen as offensive.

That’s generally most true in Western culture, but South Korean entertainers have faced plenty of criticism over blackface in the past decade. A South Korean TV station apologised for a blackface skit aired in 2017. A handful of K-pop acts have faced criticism for donning black makeup. A 2014 article from The Korea Times ran down a wave of criticism for several other such incidents.

Today’s stream caught the attention of Western fans thanks to a screen capture from Mafirva on Twitter. The actual stream can be seen here on Twitch – the makeup segment starts at about an hour and two minutes into the broadcast.

Blizzard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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