DC Comics artist Babs Tarr, best known for her work on and costume redesign for the 2014 soft reboot of Batgirl, has been accused of racism and promoting blackface after posting a self-portrait which portrayed herself with a darker skin tone than her real life appearance.

On May 29th, artwork posted to Tarr’s Instagram account featuring a full body depiction of Tarr in a pink, skintight dress with heavy make-up and another piece of fanart depicting her “Supersona” (an original take on a Superman family design), came under fire due to Tarr’s representation of herself with deeply tanned skin.

Batgirl Artist Babs Tarr Accused of Racism and Blackface for Drawing Self-Portrait With Tan Skin

Batgirl Artist Babs Tarr Accused of Racism and Blackface for Drawing Self-Portrait With Tan Skin

Fans were quick to accuse Tarr of outright racism and claimed that, by drawing herself in such a way, Tarr had participated in the racist act of performative ‘black face,’ with some even going so far as to criticize the in-game skin tone Tarr chose for her avatar in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

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These accusations were also joined by demands that Tarr delete the pieces and issue an apology:

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A number of people would also call on Babs Tarr to be fired from Critical Role, a web series that follows a group of players as they play Dungeon & Dragons.

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In the face of these accusations, Tarr stated that she wished to “apologize for any hurt caused” and promised “to do better in the future.”

She added that she was going to be personally messaging a number of individuals and that her DMs would also be open.

She then encouraged individuals who were defending her against the accusations to stop saying, “I was in very much the wrong.”

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Tarr would later post an extended apology, noting that she will be attempting to “rexamine my own privilege and reevaluate how I should’ve dealt with my own blind spots.”

She would also also lash out at fans who defended her, labelling them as “ComicsGate f***s” and claiming they were “harassing or attacking people under the guise of “supporting” me.”

The statement begins, “It came to my attention that the way I’ve depicted myself in illustrations and avatars came across as visually identifying myself as a POC. What I unintentionally and unfortunately achieved is called black-fishing, which is a form of blackface. When I first saw these critiques, I was in utter disbelief of these accusations and got wrongly defensive, instead of trying to understand the heart of these criticisms. I actively disengaged when I should’ve listened and addressed these concerns.”

It continues, “Seeing the hurt the Black community has experienced (both in recent events and historically) made me reexamine my own privilege and reevaluate how I should’ve dealt with my own blind spots. I am truly sorry to those I’ve hurt with my artwork, my silence, and my inaction, and will work harder to be a better ally and listener in the future.”

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She concluded, “Also, to all the ComicsGate f***s who are harassing or attacking people under the guise of “supporting” me: I am not for you or about you. F*** off.”

As of writing, no proof of the alleged harassment or attacks doled out by the aforementioned “f***s” has been produced, and a search of the public Twitter discourse shows most of her defenders supporting her right to draw herself however she’d like, with the more harsh tweets discussing the Catch-22 of apologizing to bad faith outrage mobs.

  • About The Author

    Spencer Baculi

    Spencer is the Editor for Bounding Into Comics. A life-long anime fan, comic book reader, and video game player, Spencer believes in supporting every claim with evidence and that Ben Reilly is the best version of Spider-Man. He can be found on Twitter @kabutoridermav.