Lithuanian cosplayer and Twitch streamer Karina “Karupups” Martinskevich was suspended from Twitch for 30 days for cosplaying as Apex Legends character Lifeline.
According to One Angry Gamer, Karupups streamed a cosplay tutorial where she changed her hair color, added accessories and painted her skin in order to look like the Apex Legends character Lifeline. Kotaku reported the stream was only seen by 160 viewers before it was shut down and Karupups was suspended.
Here’s a look at her cosplay.
And here’s a look at the Apex Legends character, Lifeline.
Karupups took to YouTube to address the suspension revealing Twitch suspended her for “engaging in hateful conduct against a person or group of people.”
Twitch’s Community Guidelines on hateful conduct state:
“Hateful conduct is any content or activity that promotes, encourages, or facilitates discrimination, denigration, objectification, harassment, or violence based on the following characteristics, and is strictly prohibited:
- Race, ethnicity, or national origin
- Sex, Gender, or Gender Identity
- Sexual Orientation
- Disability or Medical Condition
- Physical Characteristics
- Veteran Status
Twitch will consider a number of factors to determine the intent and context of any reported hateful conduct. Hateful conduct is a zero-tolerance violation and all accounts associated with such activity will receive an indefinite suspension.”
Karupups explained her decisions behind the Lifeline cosplay, “I really wanted to be the same as she is…I decided to change my skin color to a darker one.”
She would address accusations of “blackface” saying, “I really didn’t mean that. I just wanted to be similar as Lifeline from Apex Legends. It wasn’t meant to have a joke on anyone. It was just a cosplay, guys. From my favorite Legend from a computer game.”
Karupups is not the only person to draw heat for “blackface” costumes that respect popular characters. Former host of Megyn Kelly Today, Megyn Kelly, was removed from the show after her discussion of “blackface” and “white face” as Halloween costumes.
Kelly asked, “What is racist? You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person who puts on white face for Halloween. Back when I was a kid that was okay as long as you were dressing up as a character.”
Later in the discussion, Kelly would discuss a controversy on the Real Housewives of New York. She would state, “There was a controversy on the Real Housewives of New York with Luann as she dressed as Diana Ross and she made her skin look darker than it really it is. And people said that that was racist. I thought who doesn’t love Diana Ross? She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day. I don’t know how that got racist on Halloween. It’s not like she’s walking around in general.”
And it’s not just “blackface” cosplays and costumes that have become controversial. Rose City Comic Con banned Hydra and Red Skull cosplay back in 2017 stating, “Cosplayers associated with SS gear; we first thought it was offensive, but permissible. That was wrong & we won’t allow it again.”
What do you make of Twitch’s decision to suspend Karupups’ account for cosplaying as Lifeline? Do you think they were right or do you think they stepped way over the line?