Scott Disick and Brody Jenner are facing criticism after promoting an app that morphed their faces to appear as if they were different races. Disick and Jenner posted the edited photos on both Instagram and Twitter on September 22. Since their original posts, they have both deleted their tweets and edited their Instagram posts.
On their original Instagram posts, neither Disick nor Jenner mentioned that it was an ad (see screenshots below). Jenner’s originally read, “You need to try this new feature in gradient app, it’s crazy.” Since posting, he has added the #ad at the end. Disick’s originally read, “Tried new filters in the Gradient app Which one is better?” He changed the caption to read, “Tried new filters in the Gradient app. #ad.” Disick and Jenner have also both disabled the comment section on their Instagram posts. When they originally posted the photos, users still had the ability to comment.
Kim Kardashian has previously tweeted about one of Gradient app’s features, but her tweet specified that the tweet was an ad. She wrote, “Staying at home and found Gradient app that guesses your DNA Ancestry by your photo. It is very interesting and sometimes funny 😂 #gradient #ad #dna.”
Users Slammed Disick and Jenner
Shortly after posting on Twitter and Instagram, users clapped back with disapproval. “This feels extremely racist,” one user commented on Instagram. Another user responded to Disick’s since-deleted tweet, “Love that you turned comments off on Instagram instead of face the backlash.”
Disick’s post featured how his face would look in “Europe,” “Asia,” and “India.” Jenner’s featured his alleged looks in “Africa,” “Asia,” and “India.” Another user wrote, “Why would you promote digital blackface…?”
Users specifically criticized Jenner for his use of the “Africa” filter on the app. Many said the filter was a form of digital blackface – when non-Black people purposely use filters on social media to make them look Black.
Gradient Claims to Be the “Next Big Thing”
The newest feature of the Photo editing app Gradient – AI Face – encourages users to, “Find out how you would look like if you were born on a different continent,” according to its website. Some of the options include appearances from Asia, India, Africa, Brazil, and Europe – two of which are not continents.
Gradient claims that it’s, “The next big thing in the world of mobile photo editing,” per its website. In addition to the AI Face feature, the app also lets users see what celebrity they look like, what animal they look like, and what they’d look like as a portrait.
The photo editing app also includes “Your Ethnicity Estimate,” which Kim Kardashian promoted earlier this year in April. The feature claims that users, “Can estimate your DNA ancestry with the help of latest AI techs! Simply upload your photo and our exceptionally accurate algorithm will analyze features of your face and tell your ethnic background,” according to the website. The photo demonstration appears to take users photo and pinpoint different facial features to identify a person’s ethnicity.
The Gradient website also explains that the photo editing app, “Develops the most advance artificial intelligence technologies for photo editing in the world and we take full advantage of these techs! In Gradient you can find entertaining and funny AI effects as well as exclusive professional neural network powered features.”