The streamer has released an apology video.
While society continues to deal with the ugly legacy of blackface and its frequent appearances in the news, the world of video games is contending with the racist act, too. A Lithuanian streamer known as Karina “Karupups” Martsinkevich has been banned from Twitch following a stream in which she donned blackface makeup in order to cosplay Apex Legends character Lifeline, according to Dexerto.
In Apex Legends, a free-to-play battle royale game from the developers of the Titanfall franchise, Ajay Che or “Lifeline” is a female person of color who operates as a combat medic.
Reactions from Twitter ranged from understandably angry with Martsinkevich to just outright perplexed.
Martsinkevich was subsequently banned from Twitch, she confirmed in a later video. Martsinkevich took the opportunity to offer her side of the issue, repeatedly emphasizing that she merely wanted to cosplay as her favorite character from the game.
“I really didn’t mean that,” said Martsinkevich. “I just wanted to be as similar as Lifeline from Apex. It wasn’t mean to have a joke on anyone. It was just a cosplay, guys.”
It’s worth noting that Martsinkevich’s first language doesn’t appear to be English. She struggles through the video at times (there are jump cuts as well), and she appears to possibly be reading from a script, so her message may not perfectly communicate her intent.
“Receiving that ban was really painful for me because I’m the person who always feels that we should love each other, all people on the same world,” Martsinkevich said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from, which skin color you have, or which language you speak. I understood. I took a lesson from that situation. I truly believe you will understand my position as well. Let’s stop the war right here. Let’s stop fighting.”
Martsinkevich also responded to at least a few people on Twitter, pushing back against the idea that she was doing blackface, saying her actions were just cosplay.