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‘Brownface’ parody of ‘Roma’ star Yalitza Aparicio ignites backlash for Mexican network

‘Brownface’ parody of ‘Roma’ star Yalitza Aparicio ignites backlash for Mexican network
Yalitza Aparicio at this year's Oscars, where she was nominated for lead actress for her work in "Roma." (Jordan Strauss / Invision/Associated Press)

Yeka Rosales, a TV personality for the Mexican multimedia network Televisa, faced backlash Monday after wearing “brownface” and an artificial nose to parody “Roma” star and indigenous Oaxacan actress Yalitza Aparicio.

On Rosales’ social media, the TV personality posted videos and photos of herself wearing thick lips, brown skin and a long, black-colored wig while holding an Oscar statuette. The parody was meant to correlate with the network’s season premiere of “La Parodia,” a comedy TV series.

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The week before, Aparicio attended the Academy Awards with her mother; she was nominated for lead actress for playing Cleo in Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar-winning “Roma.”

Televisa spokesman Alejandro Olmos told the Associated Press in an email that the network does not support racism and that some of the comments in the show would be edited for “bad taste.”

“We do not believe that the production of ‘La Parodia’ engages in this type of practice,” he told AP.

Shortly after the backlash, Televisa deleted a video tweet of Rosales imitating Aparicio. But not before social media users, some who weren’t surprised by the racist parody, weighed in.

“The Mexican elite disposition has always portrayed indigenous people as funny and ugly,” William Nericcio, a professor at the Center for Latin American Studies at San Diego State University, told AP. “Networks like Televisa profit from this.”

Rosales responded to the criticism by saying that she parodies people of all races.

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