After a social media uproar Google has removed a smartphone app called “Make Me Asian.”
The app lets users superimposes rice paddy hats and “Fu Manchu” moustache’s on photos, and allows the user to change the shape of the pictured person’s eyes in what can only be described as an absurd racial parody (see a screenshot above).
In a statement circulated by Change.org Peter Chin, a Washington, D.C. area pastor who started a petition to have the app removed in November, thanked supporters:
“This may seem like a small victory, but it made an important statement: that minorities will not simply accept dated and offensive stereotypes that are wrongly foisted upon them.”
Just a week ago Mr. Chin also appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered urging Google to reject the app.
Google has removed the app designed for its Android smartphone operating system, and the page belonging to the appmaker, though a cached version of the promotional page can be found on its search engine.
The app from developer “KimberyDeiss” had 55 five-star reviews at the time it was deleted, and 187 one-star reviews (users cannot give Play apps a zero). Complaints from users give some sense of the possible origin of and reaction to the app:
User Billy Carter on January 2, wrote “Awful too much effort for nothing. What’s with the Russian ads at the bottom?” On the same day user Hiro Tsukihiji wrote “What’s is fun for this app? I do not understand... It’s fun for white?”
Google’s app counter suggested the free app was downloaded more than 50,000 times before it was removed.
Other apps by KimberyDeiss, since removed, included equally offensive “Make Me Indian” (which added feathers and war paint to pictures) and the more innocent-seeming “Make me Bald,” “Make me Fat” and “Make Me Frankenstein” photo alteration functions.
Google has come under fire by users and critics for too-lax controls on its app store, primarily after in several cases mobile software was removed after it was found to contain malicious code from hackers, scammers and spammers.